Two “Yes, Buts” That Hold Us Back

Newspaper mockup with the headline "Get What You Want"

Credit to ellandar

Have you ever heard an idea so simple that it slapped you upside the head and made you think, “wow, that’s very helpful, but it can’t be THAT simple, can it?”

It happened to me very recently, and my face still stings from the metaphorical slap.

It happened when I read the book, Million Dollar Weekend by Noah Kagan.

I know, the title is very clickbaity. Maybe I should write a book titled Million Dollar Improv or Million Dollar “Yes, And” - what do you think?

Anyway, the book is based on an exquisitely simple premise: In his experience, people don’t succeed for two reasons:

  1. They don’t start.
  2. They are afraid of asking.

That's it.

In my terms, most people fall into the trap of being limited by two “yes, buts:”

  1. Saying “yes, but” to starting.
  2. Saying “yes, but” to asking.

Flip this around and you see that they key to success starts with two simple “yes, ands:”

  1. Say “yes, and” to getting started.
  2. Say “yes, and” to asking for what you want and need.

What hit me in a sobering bit of self revelation is that while I consider myself very good at the first (and talk about this quite a bit in my programs) I am not so good at the second.

In fact, I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that I am pretty terrible at asking. 

And for almost every area of my life that I find lacking, I can point to a place I’ve been saying “yes, but” to asking for things, with predictable results.

How About You?

How good are you at starting and asking? Do you say “yes, and” to both getting started and asking for what you want, or do you “yes, but” yourself out of taking the first step, or making requests (or both)?

I’m going to start being a little more “yes, and” when it comes to asking. I’d love to hear from you and to know if this idea hit you as hard as it hit me.

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