I have had an intimate relationship with “I Can’t” for years.
We first met in third grade during a game of Red Rover, where no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t break the grasp of the opposing team. But I did do some incredible flips right onto the playground pavement.
My relationship with “I Can’t” grew with acne in middle school, chemistry in high school, and blossomed during my college years.
I entered so many of my major life changes with “I Can’t” along for the ride that I can’t count them. Or I could, but I won’t.
I remember the first time my son was placed in my arms after hours of tail-bone breaking labor during which I moaned for “I Can’t” repeatedly.
But once my son was born, I looked at his beautiful little face and smiled. Then I thought about being responsible for my new little being, and handed him over to the nurse.
I frantically grasped the hand of “I Can’t” while requesting a Coke and trying to locate someone who could raise my child.
There are days when I feel a lot like Homer Simpson . . .
I admit it. Some days I don’t want to “Just do it.” Instead, I want to ask, “Can’t someone else do it?” so I can sleep on my couch.
Here’s the good news . . .
I’ve finally realized that “I Can’t” is a coward that lies to all of us.
In fact, research from Scientific American shows the power of belief can markedly change what we can or cannot do:
“Psychologists Ulrich Weger and Stephen Loughnan recently asked two groups of people to answer questions. People in one group were told that the answer would be briefly flashed on their screens before the question — too quickly to consciously perceive, but slow enough for their unconscious to take in.
The other group was told that the flashes simply signaled the next question. In fact, for both groups, a random string of letters, not the answers, was flashed.
Remarkably, the people who thought the answers were flashed did better on the test.
Expecting to know the answers made people more likely to get the answers right.”
When participants believed they had the answers, it buoyed their confidence, and the confidence helped them tap into their true abilities.
It’s kind of like “build it and they will come” only it has nothing to do with baseball or Kevin Costner.
So the next time “I Can’t” shows up . . .
Show it the door. Let all of its negativity slide by, because right behind “I Can’t” stands “I Can,” just waiting for a date.
I used to think that this quote from Henry Ford was trite, but now I find it to be truth:
To all of my friends who are currently in a relationship with “I Can’t” . . .
If you want to write, or get a certain job, or lose 20 lbs (that one’s for me), you CAN.
“I Can’t” is a liar and a thief that robs you of the joy you should have in your life right now. “I Can’t” is pretty but has no substance.
Stop repeating its name.
If you want to do something, then do it. Stick with it. Get through the obstacles.
Assume that you can, and you will, in the right time.
The journey might be tough, and you will get tired, but when you finally reach your goal, you will pump your fist in the air and join hands with “I Can.”
And you’ll realize that the only limitations you’ve ever had were those that “I Can’t” whispered in your ear.