Two words that I loathe more than any: I can’t. It should not even be grammatically correct to use those two words. These are the words that will probably prevent 90% of people to do things they want. To try new things. To actually experience their lives rather than ride shotgun in an armour plated safety car. So I wanted to express my feelings towards these words and why I feel you should remove them completely.
I’ll start with my alternatives: I will/will not, I have/have not, I do/do not. These are either or, in or out, win or lose. They do not imply being stuck in some sort of limbo between trying and giving up. Which is exactly what I can’t is. You can’t give up something you haven’t tried, but you can’t be trying at something you haven’t even started. It is something that exist entirely in your head. People will use it as an excuse for things they actually don’t want to do or have no real interest in doing, but they feign interest this way. Like ‘Oh I wish I could wake up early but I just can’t’ ‘I want to be better at x but I just can’t’ ‘I can’t play the guitar’ ‘I can’t can’t can’t’etc etc. And the problem begins before anything takes place, this mindset will then stop people from even attempting something. So what is the solution?
A revolution is the only solution. A shift from insecurities and doubts into confidence and excitement. A movement from thoughts of failure to possibilities of success. But most important, the idea that trying, attempting something is the only possible way to know whether you can or not. But not just trying, actually putting your heart and soul into it. Don’t even worry about whether or not you will fail. If you fail you have two choices: quit, or think about what you did incorrectly and then adjust. The author of The Practicing Mind puts it perfectly with his method called DOC, which stands for ‘Do, Observe, Correct’. This is an incredibly useful tool. While used extensively for dedicated practice, it can prove to be quite useful when beginning something. It requires removing all judgement and ego completely. The idea being is you ‘do’ what it is you try to do, say shooting a basketball. You then ‘observe’ what happened. Did you overthrow or underthrow? Now, before any tiny bit of judgement like ‘damn I suck’ or ‘I’ll never get that hoop’, you immediately ‘Correct’. Now correcting a mistake in something may require more knowledge in the field, however the idea stands: do what is necessary to correct what went wrong and try again. Wash, rinse and repeat.
This simple methodology can really be applied in any aspect of your life. But it is extremely important to remove any judgement. Forget about winning or losing, doing the right thing or hitting the target. These things are not what are important. The greatest athletes on earth have missed far more than they’ve hit. You simply attempt it, see what went wrong and adjust accordingly. If everybody applied this to any new endeavour, I don’t think ‘I can’t’ would be known anymore. The issue of course is people don’t want to try something they already think they can’t do. Most people want safe. They are afraid of ridicule, of failing, of looking silly. Unfortunately without removing these a person may never come close to achieving their full potential, which is the sad thing about life. Summed up in another Socrates quote from the book that really stuck a chord after the passing of his friend:
‘Death isn’t sad. The sad thing is: most people don’t live at all’
So dive head-first into life