Want to Succeed? Get your But out of the Way!



One day, long ago, I said, “I want to go to college, but I don’t have the money.” Then a friend said, “I want to start a business, but I don’t have the time.”

I learned, eventually, that if I believe in my “but” I will never succeed. The word but is often the first word in an excuse for failure. I went to college by earning the money. My friend made the time to start his business. We got our buts out of the way.

The most successful people are rarely stopped by their buts.

This week The Jamestown Gazette invites you to get to know the girl next door, the hometown girl, the girl who had lots of excuses available for failure. She had little money, she had little training for what she wanted to do, she lived far away from the place she wanted to work and she even thought she didn’t have much talent.

That girl, Lucille Ball, once said, “I’m not funny. What I am is brave.” It takes courage to get past your but.

When there seems to be an obstacle blocking what you want, look again at how badly you really want it. It is your desire and your passion that can do the most to reduce the size of your but. And if you let your but get too big, so will be your regret for the things you never do.

Lucille Ball faced down the entire television establishment of her day when they said, “We love your idea for a show, but your husband can’t be a Cuban.” They said, “We love the idea you are going to have a baby, but you can’t go on TV and look pregnant.”

Lucy knew she was right and she kicked their buts. Nobody has ever been more successful as a business woman, an entertainer and comedian than Lucille Ball.

There are limitations, of course. They are much farther away, though, than our all too free use of but can make us think. Once again, Lucy has an answer for that. “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

Enjoy kicking your own but this week, as often as you can, and as always, enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut
The Jamestown Gazette

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.