Reversing “Buts” (#672)

(Michael is away on vacation, so today’s tip is from the archives. You can access over 600 of Michael’s tips as a member of the Solutions Cafe!)

I believe the credit for this one goes to John McWhirter, a UK-based NLP trainer. I originally came across it as a sales technique for handling objections, but I’ve used it alot in my own personal development work….

How many times have you heard sentences like this?

“I’d like to hear more about your idea, but I haven’t got time right now.”
“I think you’re a really great person, but I’m not ready for a relationship.”
“It sounds great, but I can’t afford it.”

Most of us have learned to disregard whatever comes before the “but” and take the second half of the sentence as the speakers “actual” message. But what happens if you reverse the sentence, using the “but” as the pivot point, and then take things a step further in the direction we want them to go?

Try reading the following examples outloud, emphasising the underlined phrase!:

“So you haven’t got time right now, but you’d love to hear more about this? When would be a better time to set up a meeting?”

“Let me see… you’re not ready for a relationship, but you think I’m a really great person? How about if we just hang out together for a while?”

“If I’m understanding you, you can’t afford it, but it sounds great? Well if it sounds great, let’s see if we can’t sort out a way for you to afford it!”

Today’s Experiment:
1. Complete the following sentence stems. You may complete each one as many different ways as you would like.

a. I want to be successful, but…
b. I want to be healthy, but…
c. I want to exercise, but…
d. I want to have more money, but…
e. I want a great relationship, but…
f. I want to be true to myself, but…

2. Choose you’re favourite completions from part one. Reverse the “but”, and sell yourself on a new belief!


1. I want to have more money, but I don’t want to do more work.

I don’t want to do more work, but I do want to have more money. What are twenty things I could do to make more money with less work?

Have fun and learn heaps!


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Wisdom in Disguise (#752)

There is an old expression that “Man plans; God laughs”. I used to take that as a bit of an insult, assuming that when God laughed, she also pointed, shaming me into enforced humility every time I set a goal or made a plan that was too big for my britches.