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The Crippling Effect of "Can't"
Make a Real Difference in Your Life

The word can't is a part of popular vocabulary. Grammatically, it's a conjunction of the words can and not. Any grade school student can tell you that. How many times a day do you hear the word can't? How many times a day do you utter it yourself? How many times a day do you think it? It has become so "normal" to use. Phrases like, "I can't believe it!", or "You can't do that!", express our incredulity. It's social, it's accepted, it's harmless. Right?

I'd like to look deeper, into the word's energy and function to illustrate something I believe is fundamental to self improvement — banish the word can't. It doesn't serve you. If it can be fair to say that "If you can conceive, you can achieve", then the same thing works in reverse; what you believe you cannot, you literally can not. It is in these ordinary moments of expression that we cheat ourselves out of our growth.

Allow me to qualify what can be considered a useful way for "can't" to be applied. If you have no legs then you "can't" walk. That's a legitimate use of the word can't to reflect inability. But to use the word "can't" in an expression such as: "I can't believe it!" is disabling your will. Why? Because you certainly can believe whatever it was, if you chose. You simply choose NOT to. That's a reflection of will, not can't.

Go to Top Try It and See

Why is that distinction important? I would like you to reflect for a moment on the last time you either thought about a "can't" or actually used the word. Then I want you to replace "can't" with "will not" and sense the difference in the implication and energy of it. In the previous example, I would change the statement — "I can't believe it" to "I will not believe it". See the difference? One statement reflects helplessness and the other is enabling. One keeps the person in the dark, the other enlightens the person. Each time you misuse the word "can't", you disable your awareness of will in the situation. Without will, you literally "can't" do anything about it.

Imagine for a moment, if every time you thought "I can't", you changed it to "I will not", instead. Then go a step further — ask yourself why you "will not" and suddenly insight will become clear. It's a slight turn of phrase, a habit to break, but it can make such a huge difference in your life. Try it and see!

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This page was last modified on Sunday, 11 December 2016