When conversing with people, we are often asked whether we know some skill or have achieved some milestones of life.
“Did you clear your exams?”
“Have you found a job?”
“Do you know driving/swimming?”
“Have you got the promotion that was due?"
“Have you made the personal changes in your life that you were talking about last month?”
One way to answer these kinds of questions which most of us do is to say, “No, I have not” or “No, I don’t”. The moment we say these answers we feel a tinge of regret at not having done something we should have and also maybe at times a mild sense of shame in admitting our ignorance or lack of progress.
Instead of giving that short, “No” as an answer how about trying, “Not yet” for a change.
Look at how much difference that word, ‘yet” makes in our speech.
“Have you cleared your exams?”
Instead of “No”, say, “Not yet”
It is a huge difference. It conveys a different message to both the person saying it and the person hearing it.
“Yet” is a word that signifies hope. It is a word that says, the process is on and the outcome has not been reached. Whereas, “No” conveys a sense of completion and nothing to look forward to in the future.
Many people will aks you such questions just to put you down.
“Did you get the promotion you were expecting?” By answering “No” you are saying it did not happen and the sense of disappointment washes over you. The other person may also feel smug at your failure and offer unsolicited advice. But if you say, “Not yet”, you are conveying you are still hopeful of it, if not this year, maybe next year. It changes the tone and direction of the conversation.
The same idea applies to anyone who questions you about any skill that you don’t have.
“Can you drive a car?” When we say, “No” we feel a twinge of regret and also the feeling of inadequacy. By answering such questions with, “Not yet” the tone itself becomes optimistic. We are leaving ourselves room for further opportunities.
The message is positive not only for the person asking the question but more importantly for the person answering it.
Andy Dufresne in Shawshank Redemption, “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things and no good thing ever dies.”
It should not be allowed to die. “Yet” is a word pregnant with possibilities, it is a word of immense hope. Use it.