Say “And” a Lot More Often. Please.

We will never have real influence if we don’t understand the hidden language of power. Know your power levers. Deploy them well.


Simple little word, isn’t it?

We don’t like AND in sentence construction. It often kicks off a long and tedious run-on-sentence. Understood.

I suggest we start to like it everywhere else.

In the canon of powerful words, AND ranks right up there with YES, NO. As a form of thought construction, AND signals a thought that may create an opportunity, add value, herald a possibility.

Do you use the word AND often enough?

It is my job to talk myself into things, not out of them.

I remember this phrase as I have a Zoom chat with my friend Bruno about life’s fourth acts. Bruno just “retired” from a university teaching career. We banter about the seemingly antiquated notion of retirement. Whether retirement is an at all desirable thing. What life in advancing age might look like. What choices he might make, I might make. What activities might enrich and energize out lives.

When you’ve exhausted all possibilities, remember this: You haven’t. ~ Thomas Edison

It was an AND conversation.

I could do nothing, and I could travel the world.

I could do nothing, and I could write my first novel.

I could do nothing, and I could start a whole new business.

AND I could continue to teach as before.

AND is a way of talking ourselves into things.

AND allows for contradictions and doesn’t try to fix them.

AND creates mental opportunities.

It creates them without doing battle with that which we don’t like, that which we can’t change, that which we believe to be impossible.

AND does not seek to oppose. AND does not seek to better something else. AND merely seeks to add.

This is so, AND we can also do that.

In conversation, every one of us is ultimately a mind-expander or a possibility-killer.

Never. Research shows. Experience suggests. But, but, but.

The verbal ammunition of the possibility killers.

Yes, by all means let us conduct due-diligence before committing to a significant project. And let us do so with an AND mindset.

I’m excited about this project, AND let’s give it due diligence.

To help it be successful. Not to kill it.

Do you use the word AND often enough?

I write these words on Labor Day weekend in the US. It tends to be a weekend of reflection and good times with family and friends. A time of rest and rejuvenation before we get busy with fall. Summer’s last hurrah.

Go and revel this weekend. And commit to stepping into fall with an AND attitude.

In the upcoming weeks, as new projects and ideas are put forth at work and in every other sphere of your life, be a mind-expander.

Allow for contradictions. Expand with AND.

AND notice how your expanding language fuels richer, deeper conversations.

Because AND takes us to the land of possibility.

Related: The Hidden Language of Personal Power