Get Off Your “But”

Summary Written by Alison Spitzer
"It’s more fun to be the underdog anyway – it makes for much better stories."

- Get Off Your “But”, page 21

The Big Idea

Gift or Burden

"'Sean,' she asked quietly, 'is this going to be a gift or a burden?'"- Get Off Your “But”, page 12

Part of Stephenson’s previous work experience included time spent at the White House and the opportunity to meet and work under President Bill Clinton. He shares with us his Top 10 Lessons he found working with a top influential leader of our time. He applies many of those lessons directly into his book. For example, through story and vulnerability, Stephenson opens up about the physical disability he was born with and the choices that his parents and, subsequently he himself, had to make to decide how his life would be lived. This is an overarching theme I recognized throughout all the lessons – is this going to be a gift or a burden? Can you make a positive out of a negative? Are you going to wallow in your own pity or start taking action on what you can accomplish? There are plenty of things the author could focus on that he can’t do, but instead he focuses on what he can do. When this pivot happens throughout the many stories and examples provided you see the positive affects it has on the individual, sometimes in ways they weren’t even expecting. I actually would describe it as liberating. Deciding to shift towards a positive has the ability to actually liberate you into the world of what is possible.

Insight #1

Who Said That?

"Choose the words you are saying to yourself wisely: they are creating your reality."- Get Off Your “But”, page 81

There are many things that might hold us back from doing what we really love, making a choice, finding forgiveness, or moving forward. Whatever it may be, people tend to have a dialogue or story around why this is the case. Upon digging deeper into this, more often than not this underlying fear or self-doubt is coming from none-other than our own selves. So while it may feel as though there are things holding you back, likely it is really only yourself. So how do you break out of that? Following the lessons outlined by Stephenson is an obvious start, but I think the above quote is a simple and yet powerful reminder. We are the narrators of our own story, so take a moment to listen to what that narration is saying. If you don’t like it, then change the tune.

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Insight #2

Fool Me Once

"Negativity doesn’t need your consent to affect you."- Get Off Your “But”, page 176

I found this to be such a profound reminder of how negativity, through others or our own thoughts, can and will affects us. This notion is weaved throughout the author’s lessons. In particular through Lessons 5 (Choose Your Friends Wisely) and 6 (Take Full Responsibility) I think it becomes clear how you can take action against negativity that may be in your life. Examining your tribe and who you choose to spend time with plays an important role in the amount of negativity you experience. Equally, I think taking responsibility for your actions, where you are and the choices you make has an incredible ability to liberate you from a feeling of constant doom and gloom. Negativity isn’t something that you can opt out of like ordering a burger with no onions. Even the most positive and self-aware individuals are affected by it. Instead of focusing on what we can’t change, you can focus on what you can and that is deciding who and how much time you will spend with people and to what extent you will let negativity influence and control you.

“The ability to manage your focus is one of the greatest powers. What you put your attention on determines what you accomplish, how you feel, and what you can handle in life.”

Read the book

Get Get Off Your “But” on Amazon.

Sean Stephenson

Expected to die at birth, Sean Stephenson has faced an army of reasons to give up and countless opportunities to embrace pity. He suffered more than 200 bone fractures by age eighteen, reached a height of only three feet, and is permanently confined to a wheelchair. Despite his challenges, he took a stand for a quality of life that has inspired millions of people around the world, including Tony Robbins, Richard Branson, President Clinton, and his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

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