Have you ever sat down and thought about how powerful the phrases “I can’t” and “I can” are? Well guess what… Here’s your golden opportunity to do so! I have the utmost confidence that you can do whatever you put your mind to, if you have a game plan.
What I’ve come to realize over the years is that if you accept that you can’t, you won’t. It’s that simple.
One of the reasons you can do something is because you do not know that you cannot do something. Isn’t that confusing? Sure, you can use I can’t phrases, justifying why you think you might not be able to do something. However saying you can’t do something is not enough to prove that you truly can’t do it. Once you believe in your own mind that you can’t do something, you have a self-fulfilling prophecy. This is so sad to me; so often, people don’t put in any effort to see if they are able to do something, because they simply believe they can’t.
Oh Henry Ford….. That man was a genius. Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.”
But… There Isn’t Enough Time in the Day
I can’t tell you how often I hear, “I can’t do _____, because I don’t have enough time!” The thing is, we all have enough time to do what we truly want to do. Every single human being on this planet has the same 86,400 seconds in their 24 hour day. Successful people do not have any more time than those that are unsuccessful. When you believe you don’t have enough time, and when you don’t make an effort to free up some time in your schedule, naturally there is not enough time.
For every single second of your day that you spend doing something, you are opting not to do something else. In other words, how we choose to allocate our time always has a trade-off. The extra half hour that I slept in on Sunday morning is a half hour that I could’ve used to run 3 miles or clean the house. The hour that I spent cooking dinner last night could’ve been spent running errands that I have not made time for in my schedule. I could’ve instead used that hour of cooking time to get my errands done and pick up a healthy, ready to eat dinner on the way home from errands.
Lazy vs. Successful
Some people might not want to read what I’m about to say next; the word ‘can’t’ is the easy way out for people who choose to be lazy. Lazy people use the word can’t much more often than successful people. Why is this the case? Saying you can’t do something is easier than saying you can, because once you say you can’t, you don’t have to go and do it. Even if you can do it, but you’ve said you can’t, you don’t have to do it.
I want to leave you with one powerful example from my own life, when I was told “You can’t.” What is truly sad about this example is that it has to do with my public education. School administration chose to put their own laziness ahead of my education – until my parents and I devised a plan for how we could make it work.
Ask yourself ‘How can I?’
When you tell yourself “I can’t” or when someone tells you “You can’t,” you must ask yourself “How can I?” How can I do this? How can I accomplish this? What is my plan for getting from where I’m at now to my end goal?
The summer before 8th grade was a tough one. My family had just moved from the Dayton area to Columbus. My sister, Cassi, and I did not know anyone in town besides our new neighbors and local family. We both knew we would be starting new schools, meaning new teachers and new friends.
“No Geometry for You”
Toward the beginning of that summer, my parents took me to sign up for classes at my new junior high. I was in a unique predicament, having taken high school Algebra 1 in 7th grade at my old school. Out of sheer laziness, the principal informed my parents that I could not continue on with my math education and take the next course, high school Geometry, during my 8th grade year. My parents saw that Geometry was offered at the Junior High, and proceeded to inquire why I was not allowed to take it. It turns out that at my new junior high school, the students were broken up into teams, with one group of teachers for each team. The only students who were permitted to take Geometry in 8th grade were those that started out on the Horizon Team in 7th grade. With such a cut and dry rule, my family was told “no Geometry for Kati this year.”
Guess what, that didn’t stop my parents from pushing forward and asking questions. My parents explained to the principal that yes, that may be school policy, but it does not make sense to make their daughter go backwards with her math education because of a hard rule. The purpose of school is to educate, not take away from an education. My parents then asked what could possibly be done in order for the school to make it work and allow me to take Geometry that year. My parents didn’t accept the “Kati can’t and isn’t allowed” BS. Instead they worked with the administration, which finally agreed to let me take the Horizon Team placement test. I knocked the placement test out of the ballpark.
“How can we make this Work?”
After taking the placement test, there was still push back from administration, because the Horizon team entailed two years of Spanish during junior high school. Guess what… I didn’t learn any Spanish during 7th grade in Dayton. Once again, my parents had to ask, “How can we make this work? What can we do and what can the school do so that our daughter gets the best education possible?” Sure enough, the school finally agreed to and arranged for my parents to set up and pay for Spanish tutoring before the school year started. That summer, I spent hours and hours with the most amazing Spanish teacher, one on one, cranking through an entire year’s worth of material in just a couple of weeks.
She Turned her Can’ts into Cans and her Dreams into Plans
You see, after much dialogue, placement tests, and Spanish tutoring, we finally got our way with the school administration. The principal telling me no was out of sheer laziness. The easy route was what the principal tried, telling us “No, she can’t” and sending us on our merry way. Doesn’t that seem like the easy thing to do? (Note to self: What is easy isn’t always the same as what is right). After much questioning and figuring out how to make it work, we turned a “Kati can’t” into “Kati can take Geometry this year.”
I hope this example really drives home that what you can and can’t do has so much to do with mindset. Consistent negativity combined with “I can’t” doesn’t get anyone very far in life, especially when one accepts that they can’t. However, sitting down, coming up with a logical plan, and saying “I can” makes all the difference. An “I can” mindset will take you so much further in life. Next time you think you can’t, I beg of you, please ask yourself “How can I?”
Drop it Like it’s Hot, Girlfriend
I’d absolutely love to hear about how you have turned a can’t into a can! Drop it down below to help inspire others reading the blog! Also be sure to check out the post about my very first half marathon for some can’t into can inspiration from yours truly!