How many times a day do you say “can’t or cannot?” 10? 5? Stop that! When you say, “I can’t” you demean yourself and shut down all possibilities for your success. Just as bad? Saying someone else “cannot or can’t.” Saying such a thing dismisses the potential and inherent value of another human being. So don’t say “can’t.” Use one of these alternatives instead.
“I haven’t yet.” This says, “I can. I just need more time to practice/study/prepare.”
You can use this when you want very much to accomplish something, but you . . . .haven’t yet. For example “I haven’t yet learned to speak Spanish.” I will, because I am highly motivated to communicate better with friends in Cuba and with other Spanish-speaking people I know. To say “I can’t speak Spanish,” eliminates all future growth. It says, “For me, speaking Spanish is impossible,” which is just not true. I can. In fact, having worked on it a couple of years or so, I’m about as good at communicating in Spanish as is a native speaker (who has already celebrated their second, even third, birthday).
“I need some help to do this.” That is, “I can do this with assistance.”
I very much want to be able to fly. Not in an airplane, but really fly; you know, conveniently and at will. Side note: I’m pretty sure this innate desire is why I loved swinging as a child. It felt like flying. While I did not come equipped with this ability, I avoid saying, “I can’t fly.” Instead I say, “If I am going to fly, I will need some help.” That help may come in the form of the availability of hover cars or perhaps light-weight and affordable jetpacks. Maybe I’ll learn to parasail or sky jump one day. Of course, I haven’t done those things yet, but I could: if I had the right help, enough time to prepare, and if I really want to go to all that trouble.
“I don’t want to do it.” Make the choice and be okay with that.
Saying you do not want to do a thing is not failure. It’s self empowerment. I hear people talk about some things and I think, “Yeah, I’m not interested in that.” Like recently when my brother was talking about a possible spelunking trip. Sure, if I had time to prepare for such a trip and the right assistance, I could crawl down into a dark, dank cave with a group of avid spelunkers. But I do not want to go into a cave. At. All. I feel the same about CrossFit classes. Not interested. I could get in good enough shape to take the classes if I had enough motivation and direction, but I don’t wanna. Here’s another thing: I used to be certain that I wanted to skydive. Now, I’m not so sure. Maybe, but I might not want to do that one day, and that’s okay.
So, the next time you start to cut yourself down by saying something you can’t do, stop yourself. Then ask yourself if this is a thing that you just have not yet practiced enough? Is it something that you could do, if you had the right help, tool, or training? Or is it something that you are frankly not interested in accomplishing? Then be honest: It’s not that you can’t do the thing. You can. Maybe you just don’t want to do it, or maybe you haven’t had the right help, or enough time to practice. Really. Because YOU are awesome!