In part 1 of this article I talked about the destructive power of ‘I can’t’, today in part I’ll look at why it’s so destructive and what to do instead.
‘I CAN’T’ KEEPS YOU SMALL
At this point in your life I am sure you know what you can and what you can’t do: you can draw, you can’t dance, you’re good with numbers, you can’t write.
That’s what you’ve experienced and that’s what you hold to be true. And changing these things about yourself would be impossible. This is who you are after all.
Or is it, really?
Let’s go back in time to when you were 2, 3, 4 or 5. At that time every day was full of discoveries. There were a lot of things you hadn’t experienced or mastered. You probably didn’t know how to dress yourself, how to swim or how to ride a bicycle.
But did that prevent you from trying?
Hell no! You were trying everything. And failing a lot. And trying again. You had a blast doing it… and eventually you succeeded!!
Back then you didn’t know you couldn’t swim, you didn’t know you couldn’t draw.
Until eventually someone said to you ‘Wow, you really can’t draw!’. And you believed them. And from this point on you stopped trying.
And this is when you are world started to become smaller.
Now, every time you encountered a similar situation, instead of facing the embarrassment of failure, it became easier to pull the ‘I cannot’ joker.
No more exploring for you, just revisiting the same landscape.
‘I CAN’T’ ROBS YOU FOR YOUR POWER
An interesting example is the topic of finances.
Best-selling author and personal finance expert, Ramit Sethi often gets criticized for calling out people who insist on frugal living.
But he has a point.
Broadly summarized his take is this: focusing on saving a dollar on coffee or clipping coupons is not the most efficient way to handle your finances if you’re feeling pinched, learning how to create more income is the way out.
The idea is simple: if you don’t have much, saving on ‘not much’ won’t get you far. If you need more money the best way to find some is to learn how to create more of it.
Most people shrink when faced with this situation. The default attitude is ‘I can’t afford it’. While this may be true, this keeps them stuck in a world of lack, frustration and envy. And, it prevents them from getting creative and going for what they truly want or deserve.
‘I CAN’T’ ROBS YOU OF YOUR DREAMS
One thing that always strikes me when you ask the average adult about their dreams is the lack of passion in their answers.
If they want a new job, a new house or a new car, they talk about what they can get without much consideration of whether they really deeply desire it or not.
More prying will eventually reveal their true needs, but the revelation will also be accompanied with a: ‘But I can’t do that! That’s not realistic!’
Of course it’s not realistic: dreams are not meant to be realistic!
Dreams are meant to push you, to drive you, to scare you.
Dreams are meant to be this beacon that takes you on a journey outside of yourself to discover what you are truly capable of.
Dreams are not meant to be convenient.
Really, what saying ‘I can’t do that’ does, is to give the death sentence to your dreams.Saying 'I can't' is like giving the death sentence to your dreams Click To Tweet
‘I CAN’T’ MAKES YOU STUPID
There is an interesting study that shows that using words like ‘no’ and negative self-talk actually transforms the structures of your brain and overtime leads to losing brain capacities in terms of logic, communication, reason and language processing.
In other words, not only does using ‘I can’t’ and other negative expressions limit your experience, your power, your dreams, it actually does reduce your intelligence and makes you more prone to acting irrationally.
Now that’s something to think about!
IF YOU ARE SUFFERING FROM ‘ICANT-ITIS’ HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1. Banish ‘I can’t’ from your vocabulary. Use empowering expression like ‘I haven’t mastered this skill yet’ or ‘I am not proficient at this yet but I can certainly learn’ instead.
2- If something feels out of reach, decide on whether you really want or not?
3- Decide if it’s a priority?
4- If it’s not, simply say ‘I choose not pursue this at the moment’.
5- If it’s something worth pursuing ask yourself ‘how can I?’.
6- Obviously when you leave your comfort zone, fear comes with the territory. Embrace it and learn to understand its messages.
7- Practice positive and empowering self-talk.
8- ‘Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.’ Charles F. Kettering
Remember: life happens on the other side of your comfort zone beyond your excuses and your ‘I can’ts’.
The universe has your back but you have to be willing to meet it half-way.
There’s magic in committing to success even when there’s no obvious path. That’s the stuff manifestation is made of, so go after what you want. You’ll never be ready, it’ll never be perfect, it’ll always be scary at first, but if you follow your dreams you’ll eventually reach them.
‘Leap and net will appear’, John Burroughs
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Updated on Nov. 24th, 2020