Reversing “Buts”

Did you know that the word “but” is a magic word?  No? Well it is for most of us so let me explain why.

Take this sentence for example:

“I thought you played well, but you missed an easy opportunity to score.”

Which part of each sentence do you remember most ? The part before the “but” or the part after it?

If you are like most people the part after the “but” will be far more prominent in your mind than the part before the “but”. That’s because the way most of our brains are wired has led to us disregarding or deleting whatever comes before the “but” and take the second half of the sentence as the speakers “actual” message.

How many times have you head someone make comments like the example above about a persons performance? Here are some other examples:

“I thought you played well, but missed an easy opportunity to score”

“I thought you ran a great race but weren’t strong enough at the end.”

“It’s great that you serve so well, but you’re slow getting in to the net.”

The great thing is you can use this phenomenon to your advantage. By reversing the sentence and switching the two messages either side of the “but” then the effect is reversed.

Read those sentences again and then with the messages reversed:

“I thought you played well, but you missed an easy opportunity to score.”
“You missed an easy opportunity to score but I thought you played well”.

“I thought you ran a great race but weren’t strong enough at the end.”
“You weren’t strong enough at the end but you ran a great race”.

“It’s great that you serve so well, but you’re slow getting in to the net.”
“You’re slow getting into the net but it’s great that you serve so well”.

 

Notice how different the sentences seem when reversed.

So if you are on the receiving end of a comment that contains a “but” and ends with a negative, then reverse the message so it leaves you feeling more positive.

Let’s look at another example.

You’ve just finished a hard game of rugby and on getting back into the dressing room a teammate says to you:

“You tackled like a demon today but your passing was poor”

Repeat what he said back to him but reverse the message. Say it out loud and emphasize the positive part and end it with a positive intention to correct the negative. Something like this:

“Yeah my passing was poor but I did tackle like a demon. I’m really going to work on my passing in training next week”.

You can even extend this process by writing down sentences that you have heard people say recently that have left a negative impression and reverse them by using the magic “but” word. Give it a go and notice how different you feel.

Good luck and enjoy the game!

Stuart.

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