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If you can’t, you must; if you must, you can

The word “can’t” has become a one-step-solution many people use to put their nagging inner-thoughts to rest. After all, once we declare that something cannot be done, there is no need to think about it or worry about it, right? We can justify our abdication and retreat with logic: “It’s out of my control.” “It’s simply not possible.”

But can’t” presupposes that we don’t have the ability or the resources to get the result, which in most cases, is not true at all. Since can’t is such a convenient ruse to lessen feelings of guilt and help us avoid confronting discomfort and sacrifice, we simply opt for this path of least resistance.

If we were completely honest with ourselves, however, a more fitting description would begin with “I won’t.” I won’t start a business because I’m too afraid of failing.”  “I won’t ask her on a date because I’m not willing to experience possible rejection.”

We choose to use the word “can’t” when the process involves fear, inconvenience, or sacrifices that we are unwilling to endure. Rarely is it used to indicate true impossibility – it’s usually just a crutch used to suppress the real reasons we choose not to take further action.

It’s often the very things we delay that will take us closer to where we most want to be. This becomes increasingly important as we learn that we will not pursue things that we believe cannot be done. But…

Make something a “must” and it not only becomes a priority, it becomes possible.

Next time you catch yourself using this c-word, try exchanging it with “won’t.”  You may find that the only thing holding you back is a false assumption.

Maxim attribution: Anthony Robbins

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