Imagine living each day without a trace of hesitation, free of limiting thoughts that cause us to use the all too common B word….BUT! How often do you either speak or think this three letter word that has the reputation of canceling out your dreams and aspirations?

Like an addiction, we’ve become a big BUT culture that indulges in the heavy caloric diet of logical reasoning and excuses to remain safe and secure from potential failure, thus growing the size of our BUT throughout our internal thoughts and external conversations.  It’s no wonder that so many of us have big BUTS as we’re raised in a culture that encourages us to play it safe, free from ridicule.

How often as a child were you told by your parents, teachers or peers that your dreams simply weren’t practical, that you needed to be realistic and come back down to earth? Do you recall ever feeling humiliated when you tried something new? After countless experiences feeling as if you’re on the firing line, you might likely pull your energy back and become more cautious of taking risks and letting your innate talents truly flourish.

Calling on a vivid memory from the 3rd grade, it’s Show and Tell day. We’ve all painted self-portraits and I can’t wait to share mine. The teacher, Mrs. Rath, (should have been spelled ‘Wrath’) calls on me and I enthusiastically jump from my seat and raise my portrait for all to see! She then proceeds to describe in countless detail why my rendering is terrible. In that moment, I begin to feel as if I’m drowning in a sea of mocking giggles and I instantly shift from feelings of pride to shame and wish I could hide under my seat or better yet, disappear forever from the classroom.

From that point forward, it’s a miracle that I felt confident enough to eventually pursue the life of an artist via photography. It helped that I felt extremely supported by my 11th grade photography instructor, got high marks on my photos, and my friends and family really liked my images. Undoubtedly, these events boosted my confidence to empower this creative gift as it was emerging. Throughout my thirty five year career, there have been many BUTS in the road, and I’ve always had the choice to shine light on these seeming obstacles and move around them.

So, how do you practice a BUT-FREE diet?  One simple place to start lies in becoming alert every time that you say or think the “B” word. First off, do your best to replace the word “but” with the word “and.” It’s not just a matter of changing your language. When we use the word “and,” there is no opposition to this word, only inclusion. “But” is filled with opposition, as if there’s a problem. I love the expression, “No Worries,” as it excludes any ounce of “but.” Also, begin refining your choice of friends to those who are equally devoted to a life of boundless choices and possibilities, those that are also following this diet. A daily gratitude list can also assist in reducing the Buts as it’s hard to hold onto limiting thoughts when we’re steeped in an attitude of gratitude.

Trust that as you continue to exercise your choices and become more mindful, you are toning and shaping your thoughts and activities that lead you into an expansive, creative and successful life free of limitations. Without realizing it, you look around and notice that you’ve become BUT FREE.  

Carl Studna is a world-renowned photographer, inspirational speaker, teacher and award winning author. Carl’s intimate portraits of influential people ranging from Sir Paul McCartney to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, are published and known worldwide. Carl has taken his message and experiences to print in his book, CLICK! Choosing Love One Frame at a Time.  Studna’s innovative work, the LuminEssence Method©, teaches a new paradigm for radiating the light that resides within revealing each person’s authentic gifts. www.CarlStudna.com.

(c) Photography by Carl Studna

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