Replace “No” with “Not Yet”

When building our house we wanted something from the ranch in our home.  A large oak tree that had fallen a year earlier was chosen to become the fireplace mantle.   The adventure of cutting a 7’ section of trunk out of the tree resulted in my being pinned to the tractor, a trip to the emergency room, and 42 stitches in my forehead.  But, that part of the story is being saved to be exploited for a different life’s lesson.  With trunk in hand, we then needed to find a saw mill to cut a timber out of the 22 inch diameter oak tree trunk.

No, not yet.I was referred to a man in Miller Grove, TX named Ed Watts.   Armed only with Ed’s name and town, my neighbor and I ventured 30 miles south in search of Ed.  Miller Grove consists of one intersection with a four way stop sign, a feed store and a school district administration yard.  Since people at feed stores know just about everyone, we walked through the front door to the counter and asked if anyone knew Ed Watts.  The girl at the counter pointed to the back of the shop where there were a couple of tables and a coffee pot.  “Ed’s the one with the hat on” she advised.  Walking to the back of the store, I interrupted and asked if he was Ed.   Ed is in his early 80’s answered “who’s asking?”   I introduced myself, explained our desire to use the oak stump as a mantle and asked if he would be able to mill it for us.  He said he was cutting wood that day and to bring it over to his house.  I then asked Ed if he had lived in Miller Grove his whole life.   His answer “Not Yet.” will stick with me forever.

After a good laugh by all, it hit me.  What a great outlook on life!  His answer told me more about Ed than a thousand questions would have revealed.  Ed is on an adventure in his life.  “Not Yet” means he still anticipates and looks forward to the future.

Adopting Ed’s answer in my life has made great changes in the way my future is viewed.   If asked whether or not I have eaten at the new Chinese Buffet, landed at a particular airport or discount bungie jumped, I now answer “Not Yet”.  “No” is negative and leaves us with a rejection of the experience and the subconscious imprint of I have not been there, and “No”, I am not going there, ever.  “No” marks the end of an adventure.

“Not Yet” on the other hand, opens the door to adventure and growth and means you have not rejected the possibility of a great adventure.  In fact, you may even add it to your bucket list. “Not Yet” opens the invitation in your mind and puts it in its proper place.  Go ahead right now and try it.  Ask yourself  “Have you ever been to …. (you add the exotic destination)?     Have you ever done…. (you add the activity) ?  Force yourself to answer “Not Yet”.  Compare that to the times your answer is NO.  Start adding to your adventures.

Thanks Ed,  “Not Yet” has expanded my capacity to dream and has given me freedom of thought to replace the killer word “NO” with the adventure building words of “Not Yet.”

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