The “and” principle

June 13, 2024

By Jeff Becraft


This week I was talking to someone and they told me about the “and” principle.

I was talking to them about how sometimes certain situations or sometimes people seem to get to me. I told them about how I wasted several hours one day because throughout the afternoon and evening I kept complaining in my head what I was bothered about.

They then asked me, “Well, who are you complaining to?” I thought for a second; I really didn’t know. I responded, “God? I don’t know… myself?” And they quickly responded and said, “You’re complaining to yourself.”

The problem with that is when we simply complain about things in our lives to ourselves, well, they just go around in circles and they keep rolling over and over again in our minds, and nothing ever really changes. So that winds up robbing us of hours of time where we could be at rest, but our minds are spinning because we’re worked up over some situation or some person that we’re not happy about.

This person then went on to tell me about a woman they know that says they only whine to God because God already knows their heart. He already knows their mind anyway. So they just whine to God… but they don’t go and whine to other people. I am sure most of us have heard the expression, “You want a little cheese to go with that whine?” It is so easy to get into a whining mode and a whining attitude.

But the “and” principle is this: that if you’re going to whine about somebody or some situation, add an “and” to that statement.

This happened just last night. After dinner, it was later than I was expecting and what I would have liked it to be and I blurted out, “Man, time just flies.” What I am really doing is that I am starting to whine but then I caught it and said, “And I’m enjoying every moment!”

Now, I am not someone that thinks that if we would just have positive thoughts that would take care of every issue in our lives. I don’t believe that. I do believe it’s very important to look at the positive and that is helpful. And that’s the situation with the “and” principle.

It could be all kinds of things. Even today, I thought about working from home but decided to drive all the way over to work instead.  Once I got over here, the internet for the entire area was down.  You can guess what thought went through my head.  Are you going to offer me some cheese to go along with those thoughts?

But I quickly stated, “Man, the internet is down… and I am glad the air conditioning is working.”

It has been very helpful to me to start adding “and” to my statements… even in my head.


Jeff Becraft is the Director of Our Place of Hope and the Director Emeritus for Youth Corps and has dedicated much of his life to helping shift the vision of people’s lives. Our Place of Hope is a paradigm shift for people living with mental illness that encourages them to regain meaning, purpose, and hope for their lives. You can connect with Jeff at  [email protected].