Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. – Carl Bard
As a child I was taught that the magic words were please and thank-you. In a recent conversation with my sister, Laree, she mentioned that some teachers are trained to teach their students another magic word.
These teachers are being taught that if one of their students say, “I can’t do xxx” they should stop him or her and make them repeat the statement, but this time with the magic word at the end. And what is this new magic word? It is the short, unassuming, but incredibly powerful word, “yet.”
I have been thinking a lot about the “magic” word yet since that night. Think about how this simple word can change everything.
- “I can’t” has the feeling of permanence and finality; “I can’t yet” is temporary and bursting with possibilities for growth and change.
- “I can’t” is a white flag. A signal of surrender; “I can’t yet” is a call to action. A demand to fight and compete.
- “I can’t” connotes despair; “I can’t yet” implies hope.
- “I can’t” leads to discouragement; “I can’t yet” encourages optimism.
- “I can’t” signals helplessness; “I can’t yet” confers power. It forces us to take responsibility and come up with a plan to improve things.
Let’s look at some common statements dealing with money and how our magic word can transform them:
- “I can’t control my spending – yet.”
- “I am not out of debt – yet.”
- “I am not a very good saver – yet.”
- “I can’t afford that – yet.”
- “I am not confident in my investing knowledge – yet.”
- “I don’t have enough saved for retirement – yet.”
- “I can’t give as much as I would like to people who need help and the causes I believe in – yet.”
You get the idea. Your money story is not completed yet and you have the power within you to change the ending. But the power of yet isn’t confined just to money. It has the power to transform not just your finances, but your life. Consider the following:
- “I am not as kind as I should be – yet.”
- “I don’t serve others as much or as well as I would like – yet.”
- “I am not the kind of husband or wife I desire to be – yet.”
- “I am not as good a parent or grandparent as I should be – yet.”
- “I don’t have the education I need or the job I want – yet.”
- “I have not mastered my profession – yet.”
- “I do not take care of my body through nutritious food and exercise as well as I should – yet.”
- “I am not as spiritually in tune as I need to be – yet.”
The possibilities are endless.
Your Story is Not Over
The spring of 1888 was a difficult time for the wealthy, 54-year-old Swedish chemist, engineer, and inventor Alfred Nobel. Alfred had made his fortune inventing and manufacturing dynamite and other explosives, most of which were used militarily. In April of 1888 Alfred was struck with grief when he learned of the death of his older brother, Ludwig, in France.
Alfred’s grief was compounded when, shortly after his brother’s death, he read his own obituary in a French newspaper. An editor had confused Alfred with his brother and published Alfred’s obituary in error.
It would be an understatement to say that the assessment of Alfred’s life in his premature obituary was not flattering. The headline was The Merchant of Death is Dead, and the obituary stated that Alfred Nobel “became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before…”
Alfred was dismayed that he might be remembered as “the merchant of death” and set out immediately to change this perception. When he actually died eight years later he allocated over 90 percent of his fortune to establish generous awards for those who did the most to benefit humanity. While Alfred’s invention of dynamite is still sometimes mentioned his name is now widely associated with awards given for excellence in literature, science, and most of all, in promoting peace – The Nobel Prizes.
Upon seeing his obituary I can imagine Alfred Nobel screaming, “I’m not dead yet.” Given the chance to see what the future held, and not liking it, Nobel made the most of his yet.
While we won’t have the opportunity to read our own obituary in advance we do have the opportunity, as long as we are still breathing, to continue learning, growing, and improving. Your story is not over. The final chapters have not been written.
This thanksgiving one of the things I am grateful for is the power in the simple, unassuming, but magic 3-letter word yet, and I rededicate myself to making the most of it. Won’t you join me?