Lets Get Off Our Buts.

John-Roger & Peter McWilliams

Full Text:


Cover Info:
* "I want a nurturing relationship, but "
* "I want a fulfilling career, but "
* "I want to be healthier, but "
* "I want to be happier, but "


When faced with an exciting new opportunity, one that might expand our capabilities
& move us ever-closer to living our dreams,
we respond with one of two three-letter words: YES or BUT.
(Yes, some have merged them into YES-BUT, but they really mean BUT.)

When used in a sentence, BUT means:

"Ignore all that good-sounding stuff that came before - here comes the truth."

"Im excited about my new exercise program, but "

"I'm really concerned about the environment, but "

"I know how important it is to love myself, but "

Getting off our buts sounds very nice, BUT HOW DO WE GET OFF OUR BUTS??? Simple. Just DO IT!

Within each of us is a dream - a heart's desire.

For some, it's a professional or a career goal; for others, it's a relationship or a family.
It might be a political or social desire, or it may be a religious or spiritual one.

Unfortunately, many people aren't pursuing their heart's desire.
Some are so far away from living their dream that they've forgotten what their dream truly is.
The good news is that with every dream comes the time & the ability to fulfill it.

The bad news? Many people use that time & ability doing something else - something that often has little or nothing to do with their dream.

Why? What's keeping us from fulfilling our heart's desire? Why aren't we living our dreams? Our comfort zone. Our comfort zone includes all the things we've done often enough to feel comfortable doing. Any behavior outside our comfort zone can result in fear, guilt, unworthiness, hurt feelings, anger, discouragement - you know: discomfort.

Alas, to accomplish something new requires new behavior, & new behavior by its very definition lies outside the confines of the comfort zone. So, do we honor our comfort zone, or do we honor our dream? The choice is ours.

As John Kenneth Galbraith pointed out, "When faced w/the choice between changing & proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof." DO IT! is a book for those:

who want to discover, clearly & precisely their dream
who choose to pursue that dream, even if it means learning (& - gasp! - practicing) some new behavior
who wouldnt mind having some fun along the way
who are willing to expand their comfort zone enough to include their hearts desire - & maybe even a dance floor.
The secret lies in the doing. As Woody Allen said,

"80% of success is showing up."

And J. Paul Getty agreed:

"Rise early. Work late. Strike oil."


We all have a dream, a heart's desire. Most have more than one. Some of us have an entire entourage.
This is a book about discovering (or rediscovering) those dreams, how to choose which dreams to pursue, & practical suggestions for achieving them.

Many people are so far away from living their dreams that they have forgotten what their dream truly is.
When we feel uncomfortable enough, we tend to feel discouraged (a form of exhaustion), & we return to thoughts, feelings, & actions
that are more familiar, more practiced, more predictable - more, well, comfortable.

The irony is that the feelings we've been taught to label uncomfortable are, in fact, among the very tools necessary to fulfill our dreams.

It's your choice. It's always your choice. The trouble is, many of us have delegated that choice to habits formed long ago- formed when we knew far less about life than we know now. We let habits formed when we were 2 or 4 or 6 or 10 or 15 control our lives today.

The truth is, pursuing a Big Dream of our own choosing is the same amount of work as gathering more & more of the things we don't really want. You're going to spend the rest of your life doing something. It might as well be something you want to do. We want to make it clear that the reason we aren't living our dreams right now is inside ourselves.

For the most part, however, we pretend it's people, things & situations outside ourselves that are to blame. (Not enough money, education, contacts, intelligence, looks, etc., etc.)

In any given area of life, we have 1 of 2 things:



stories or successes

We either have what we want,
or we have ironclad, airtight, impenetrable reasons
why it's not even marginally possible to get it.
We use one of the most powerful tools at our disposal - the mind - for our disposal.

Rather than dispose of the barriers to our dreams, the mind disposes of the dreams.
In the amount of time it takes for the mind to invent a good excuse, it could've created an alternative way of achieving the desired result, rendering excuse-making unnecessary.

We are all, right now, living the life of our own choosing. The bottom line question:

"Do we pursue what we want, or do we do whats comfortable?"

For the most part, most people most often choose comfort - the familiar, the time honored, the well worn but well known. After a lifetime of choosing between comfort & risk, we are left with the life we currently have. And it was all of our own choosing. It is a given, for most people & accepted fact ­- that uncomfortableness is a sufficient reason for not doing something. A common cover-up for hurt is anger. We blame whatever or whomever it is that let us down, & we get steamed. ("How dare you!") Some people have anger as the automatic response to disappointment. In almost all cases, however, hurt is just underneath.

A common defense against hurt feelings is depression. Some people feel so down all the time that one more hurt is just another drop in the ocean of their melancholy. Over time, the result of all this fear, guilt, unworthiness, hurt feelings & anger is discouragement.


Discouragement promotes inaction, & inaction guarantees failure - a life of not living our dreams. To the degree we're not living our dreams, our comfort zone has more control of us than we have over ourselves. Guilt is anger directed toward ourselves, & anger is the energy for change. Alas, few of us were trained to use anger for change (except, perhaps, in athletics). Mostly, we use anger for blame & feeling bad.

The gift of anger, however, is the physical, mental & emotional strength to make change. When we feel guilty, & want to use the anger for change (for a change), we have two options: we can either change our actions, or change our beliefs about those actions. Hurt feelings & anger - like fear, guilt & unworthiness - are there as energy to be used toward your goal, not as reasons to stop. Our feelings don't say stop - our programming says stop. When the comfort zone has control of the imagination, it is vigorously & creatively used against us. We relive the horrors of the past - the fears that were justified, the guilts that were especially foul, the unworthiness at their worst, the hurt feelings at their most painful, the anger at its most destructive. Considering the false history created by the comfort zones careful selection & occasional rewriting, it's easy to feel discouraged about ourselves & everything we might consider doing. The comfort zone also uses the imagination when considering the future. It projects an image of not just failure but monumental failure, embarrassing failure, public & unconditional failure.

Considering this opposition, it's amazing that we even get out of bed. When we project our dreams into a positive future, we see that we can have what we want. A positive image of the future not only shows us how to get there, it draws us to it, attracting us toward our dreams like a magnet. A goal is something tangible; a purpose is a direction. A goal can be achieved; a purpose is fulfilled in each moment. We can set & achieve many goals; a purpose remains constant for life. One of the toughest things to sacrifice is the idea that we should be comfortable all the time.

We only said you would find satisfaction pursuing your dreams, not comfort. People don't like to see others pursuing their dreams - it reminds them how far from living their dreams they are. In talking you out of your dreams, they are talking themselves back into their own comfort zone. They will give you every rational lie they ever gave themselves. Learn to see fear as excitement, guilt as the energy for personal change, unworthiness as the discipline to live your Dream, hurt feelings as caring, & anger as the energy for outer change.

For now, be willing to be uncomfortable. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. It may get tough, but it's a small price to pay for living your Dream. You will achieve your Dream when you've done the necessary work. The good new is, you will achieve your Dream. The bad new is, there's work involved.

Pursuing your Dream requires work - mental, emotional & physical. Work is what we don't want to do, but we do anyway to get something else. To reach your Dream, you'll be called upon to do a lot of things you don't want to do. Do the necessary work. A lot of people decide how much that is before they really know how much it will be. They say, "I've done enough work," & give up. They were wrong. It wasn't enough. How do we know when it was enough?

Simple. When we have what we want, it was enough. Until then, it wasn't. Do the work until it's enough - until you have your Dream. It's a lot of physical work pursuing your Dream. Be prepared for it. Rehabilitate your attitude toward words such as "work", "vacation" & "time off." The idea that we need "time off" comes from working for another to fulfill another's dreams. Now your life is directed toward fulfilling your Dream. Why would you want to take "time off" from that? When we realize one Dream, sometimes a deeper Dream reveals itself. At other times, a parallel Dream appears. The one that scares the hell out of you is probably it.

What's the true value of setting a goal & achieving it? It's not obtaining the goal, but what we learn about ourselves along the way. To get to our Dream we must be focused, disciplined, persevering, caring, worthy, excited, enthusiastic, and passionate. What do we learn about ourselves? How to be more focused, disciplined, persevering, caring, worth, excited, enthusiastic, & passionate. Goals come & go, dreams fade, but these qualities travel with us wherever we go. When things are going awful, terrible, horrible it helps to remember that, in six months, you'll be telling this "tragedy" as an anecdote.

You'll have your friends laughing hysterically about it. If it'll be funny then, it's funny now. By remembering that in the middle of chaos, you can take a deep breath and say to yourself, "Relax. This is funny."

After talking with her father, Molly is excited. "Why wasn't I thinking?" she wonders. "I don't have to feel sorry for Catherine. I can be the one God uses to encourage her!" Molly gets out her stationery & writes a sweet note to her discouraged friend. Part of it reads, "I'm so glad you're my best friend. I really look up to you, & I love you!" Then Molly picks up the phone & invites Catherine to spend the day shopping & hanging out with her on Saturday.

Look It Up: The Greek word for "encourage" literally means "to come alongside & help." Encouragement can come through a variety of means.

Think It Through: Author Chuck Swindoll writes, "The beautiful part of encouragement is this:
Anybody can do it. You don't need a lot of money to carry it out. You don't even need to be a certain age."
Whats the most encouraging thing anyone has ever done for or said to you? Can you think of 5 really creative ways to encourage someone who's down?


Look It Up: Scripture is clear. Our words have the power to heal . . . or to hurt.

"An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up" (Proverbs 12:25).

"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul & healing to the bones" (Proverbs 16:24).

Think It Through:

Let's face it, there are enough things in this world beating you down & telling you that you're not worth much.
Genuine compliments & true encouragement stand out because they so seldom happen. Mark Twain once said, "I can live two months on one good compliment." Do you agree with this statement?