I am indebted to my son-in-law Harrison Chase Doyle who inspired this
conversation and contributed material.
On the surface of it, she seemed to be not getting the idea. She seemed
to be unable to grasp the concept. I'll bet that in actuality, it was
than that. I'll bet that in actuality she was unconsciously blocking
the idea, inadvertently euthanizing the concept. That's not something
personal about her. It's not something only she does. If we're not
awake to possibility, it's what we do: we ask for
then no matter what suggestions come, we may only see a problem with
them, so we dismiss them out of hand. In other words we imbue
circumstances with power over possibility, a folly which is held in
place unconsciously in our
In this regard it works for me to practice what I preach. I don't
hesitate to request a fresh perspective if where I'm looking doesn't
shed any new light on things. At times like these, I'll try on
any suggestion (if not steal it outright). That's what
But she wasn't buying any of it. She wasn't letting any of it in. Even
though she'd requested it, the only listening she could muster for my
was assessing it wouldn't work. When I'd offer a fresh perspective,
she'd quickly disregard it. And when she did, her response always
started with something like "The problem is ..." or simply "But, no
...". You know, she had it on full automatic.
Look: it's no big deal if my advice is rejected. If it's requested, I
offer it. It's taken, or it's not. I don't know everything. Heck, I've
never claimed to know everything. So I could be wrong but
it seemed like a racket that she'd request my suggestions then reject
all of them, sometimes even before I'd finished speaking. I confronted
her and told her so. "What do you mean?" she asked
quizzically. And I realized what she was asking wasn't to challenge me.
It was she ... really ... didn't ... know.
"When your response to a suggestion starts with 'But, no ...'" I said,
comes out of your mouth
next isn't possibility. Rather, 'But, no ...' precedes a possibility
killer. What you need is less 'But, no ...' and more 'And,
yes ...'. Try this on for size: whatever
comes out of your mouth
after 'And, yes ...' is possibility.".
It's an assertion that's the inroad I'd been waiting for an appropriate
moment to make, the beginning of a conversation I'd been waiting for
the appropriate moment to have, a conversation lifted directly from the
annals of Transformation 101 in which it's our language
that generates possibility for the circumstances rather than simply
reporting on an assumed limited possibility already present in the
circumstances. And if you're
enough to tell the truth about it, you'll see we mostly live in
in which our language merely reports on an assumed limited possibility
already present in the circumstances rather than generating a new
possibility for them.
On the other hand, it takes a certain
a certain willingness, a
in fact, to dare to deploy or even to test language as the
generator of possibility for the existing circumstances.
We say there's no possibility? Guess what: there's none.
We say what's possible? Guess what: now there's possibility. In both
cases, the circumstances are the same. It's only our say
so that's different, new. We need less "But, no ..." and more
"And, yes ...". That's what works. It's as simple as that.