I Hate Big Buts

August 2, 2007 - Get free updates of new posts here

Get it? Wow, Noah is extra funny today. I want to talk about focusing on the solution.

How many times has someone come to you and said:

“I tried to do X BUT it didn’t work.”

What I LOVE are when people do it this way:

I tried X and it didn’t work. So I tried it Y and maybe we should consider Z.

Bottomline: Come to people with solutions not excuses. Unless you like big BUTS:)

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15 responses to “I Hate Big Buts

  1. Will Reply

    and I cannot lie, you other brothers can’t deny….

    No, You are so right here, I cannot stand when someone has an excuse for everything. To me lots of excuses = lazy.


  2. Matt Snider Reply

    yeah, big buts suck, BUT big butts are awesome.

    I ignore any apologies that are followed by a ‘but’. If you have a ‘but’ in your apology then your really aren’t apologetic. You are saying sorry, then qualifying why you did what you did, without genuinely feeling sorry for your actions.

  3. Zach Hale Reply

    Thank you! I’ll have to bookmark this and forward this to people as needed. I couldn’t count the number of times I wish people would ask for help with some sort of context or thought behind their question. Instead, often it takes many messages to establish context even before asking if they approached it a different – often obvious – way.

  4. Karen Hartline Reply

    If people spent more time working on a solution instead of an excuse, think about how much better the world would be. 🙂

  5. Robert Franklin Reply

    Nail on the head. When I go into a meeting or had to pitch my boss, I would never bring a problem only solutions. I also would always bring at least three solutions. If you can’t think of a third option, the classic do nothing option can always come in handy. Having multiple options shows that you are thinking and allows you to frame the one you think should be choosen more powerfully, IMHO.

  6. shelley Reply

    Using “but” in a sentence like the one in your post is a cop out 95% of the time. The response, “I’ll try” is a copy out 99.9% of the time.

    I like your solution: use ‘and’ instead of ‘but’ and you’ll lose the junk in your trunk. 🙂


  7. jeremie Reply

    I don’t like big butts neither but I am living on Canary Islands and there are plenty of them here… a nightmare! My wife is asian and she can’t find a trouser. They only sell large ones.

  8. Jon Scott Reply

    Big butts huh…I am going to over-extend myself just this once…Why, just cause.

    I think what it comes down to is the person; their honest choices and where they want to honestly choose to put themselves in their life. Maybe they are happy with their big “butâ€?. They can have SO many people supporting them (and their big “but”) with great advice and feedback, but in the end, it always comes down to them doing something THEY honestly choose to do.

    I had a friend. He once inspired me, I once respected him, handled life with so much virility & ambition, and drove results most of the time. Time and time again advice was sought after only to find that he could not be honest with himself and what he truly wanted when making choices. The same choices that put him back in the same dark place he depressingly avoided. Over-and-over-and-over again, I had faith, that he could achieve his own goals, where he put himself in his life, and to be happy (or learn) with his choices once he made them…In the end, inspiration was lost not friendship. In the end, it was words and no action.

    Take this post for example, what would this post really do for others other than provide a days worth of reading material and perhaps a glimmer of inspiration. Would you remember this post? This topic? This story?

    It all comes down to honest choices and being happy with them. Own them.

    Great quote:
    “If you’re a recovering alcoholic, your not going to get a job as a bartender.�


  9. Andrew Christensen Reply

    No kidding. Big buts (and butts) suck. Especially when they come with meaty ankles.

    On of the best lessons I ever learned was from a good friend, Kendall Wouters. One of his prime rules in business was “Don’t come to me with problems unless you have some solutions or alternatives.”. This was illustrated so well when he made the mistake of doing just that with a guy we were working with on a project. We couldn’t find one of the CD’s we critically needed for a project that had to be done that night. The guy was like #2 in the company and he FREAKED OUT. He just melted down. Here he was, supposed to be steering the company ship and he was running for the lifeboats! We laugh about it now, but learned that if you need to tell someone you have a problem, be prepared to say “BUT” and give them something else to count on or you will have a melt down.


  10. Jon Scott Reply

    Great excerpt from an inspiring woman on dishonest individuals:
    “…you can’t spot them off the bat. they can be tricky. but when they peel off the layers and reveal their suckyness and see the true colors…start flying out of there.â€?