Are You Quibbling Your Life Away?


in Happiness,Personal Growth

In law school, the class on evidence was not one of my favorites. The evidence professor was a giant bear of a man (or at least it seemed to me then) who had a booming voice and a theatrical bent. Most of us would try to hide behind our stacks of law books and pretend to be invisible in the hopes that we wouldn’t be selected for one of his “plays.”

He liked to call on students – who hadn’t volunteered – to dissect the rules of evidence and the associated case law. The victim of this opportunity would be subjected to a barrage of questions for the entire class. Naturally, when a question was posed, the student would attempt to gather his or her wits and come up with a brilliant answer which usually started something like this, “well, maybe, I suppose, if….”

At this point my professor would shout, “Answer the question. Yes or no. Do not evade or quibble!” By the end of class, I was usually in a sweat of nervous anxiety – even if I wasn’t the one being called on. Such was the joy of one of these plays.

However, his mantra has stuck with me always. Answer the question. Yes or no. Do not evade or quibble.

All of us have questions that spin endlessly in our heads. They are potentially life-changing questions.  Yet my guess is that most of our answers aren’t life-changing. They probably look something like this.

Question:  Will I start that business I’ve been dreaming about that I know could change my life?

Answer:  Well, if I could save enough money, then maybe…..

Question:  Will I exercise?

Answer:  Well, if I could find the time, then maybe…..

Question:  Will I leave that job that is making me physically sick?

Answer:  Well, if my husband would agree, then maybe….

Question:  Will I write that book I know is inside of me?

Answer:  Well, if I could land the plane, then maybe….

Evade. Evade. Quibble. Quibble.

Here is where I shout at you. Here is where I shout at myself. ANSWER THE QUESTION. YES OR NO. DO NOT EVADE OR QUIBBLE.

Answering the question – one way or the other – allows us to commit to a course of action. Once we commit, the rest of the steps fall into place.

Will you answer the question? Yes or no. Do not evade or quibble. No. No. Do not.

Answer. Commit. Comment. Subscribe.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Carrie October 21, 2010 at

I really liked this one. It reminds me of my time with Landmark where I became alert for “story”. Generally anything beyond yes or no was story. Life, and my life in particular, is SO much simpler when I say yes or no without evasion or quibbling. Thank you for this posting to help me remember.


Andrea October 21, 2010 at

You are right … anything beyond the yes or the no is the story we tell ourselves. Love that! Thanks!


Ronna October 24, 2010 at

Ouch! And thank you.
Ronna recently posted..Eyes Wide Open


Andrea October 24, 2010 at

I do my best! :)


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