How many times a week do you think you hear the C word?
This has to be the word I hate to hear most, it is crude and shows a complete lack of imagination, is there no better word that you can use than Can't?
Wait, what word did you think I meant? Ah ha no not that one, get your mind out of the gutter, this is a family show.
In all seriousness, when I hear someone say "I can't" I feel so exasperated it borders on the irrational. It makes me want to launch into the theatrics of a southern debutant belle shouting “Oh no honey pie we don't use that word, wash your mouth out”.
Saying “Can’t” is like summoning an evil being, just uttering the word creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once you have said it, the dark magic begins to seep into your soul, it’s a sepia smoke that creeps in and banishes all remnant of hope for what might be possible.
Richard Bach (American Author) summed this up beautifully in his book Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah;
Argue for your limitations and sure enough, they are yours.
We are so quick to say “I can’t” and follow it up with a justification. We say it with such conviction, a finality that leaves no room for manoeuvre and by doing so, we make it true. It’s just human nature to strive to prove ourselves right.
If we put as much effort into figuring out how we can do things, as we do for why we can’t, just imagine what could be achieved.
Let’s play with an example
“I can’t be a Chef because I can’t cook”
As my grandma would have said “well, not with an attitude like that!”
First of all, let’s remove Can’t from our vocabulary. We are going to throw it out and replace it with more words like “How can” and “Don’t” then watch how the sentence takes on a whole new meaning;
“How can I become a Chef, if I don’t cook”
Boom, look at that.
What started as a negative, limiting outlook has now become a problem-solving exercise. Now our brain can switch over to seek mode and begin offering possibilities and scenarios in search of a solution.
You will start to see opportunity at every turn, you will feel inspired, then before you know it you will have pushed yourself into situations and circumstances that can offer you the best chance of success.
In short, once we are open to becoming able, we seek to find ways to make it so. If Richard Bach is right and we can argue for limitations then make them ours, it must also be true that we can also argue for possibilities and make them our own.
I challenge you to switch “Can’t” for “How can” at every opportunity and see what a difference it makes to your life and your career.
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