How to stop “Can’t” from holding you back.
“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing…, you’re right. “
~ Henry Ford
Most people have heard Henry Ford’s quote. But have you internalized it? “Can’t” limits your thinking. It puts up a wall. It stops your brain from progressing. You could call it being mentally lazy. When you use “can’t” in a sentence, it allows you to give up, to quit, and to hold up the white flag of surrender! “I can’t be successful.” “I can’t cook.” “I can’t fly across the country by flapping my ears.” Ok, the last one is a little tricky, but you get the point. Making negative statements like this create your future by repressing your possibilities.
Listen to the voice in your head
We all have that voice in our head that speaks to us. Some call it our inner voice. It moves quickly and will start negative thoughts out of nowhere. A lot of this can be traced back to negative core beliefs. If you become aware of every time you use “can’t” then it causes you to think about what you are saying and how that can be negative. You have to learn to listen for little negative words like and train your mind to change them. When you catch these negatives your must Reframe them.
Reframing is a great way to get your brain working for you instead of against you. When you say “can’t” either in your mind or aloud, what you are really saying to yourself is either a) I won’t or b) I don’t know how! Reframe “I can’t with a “how can I” or “how will I” or another phrase that will cause you to think positive and not give up. It takes time. I’ve worked on this for quite a while and have found the one “can’t” that keeps on slipping in is “I can’t afford that.” This is not always true and a lot of times just a reflex. The more factual statement is“I choose not to afford it at this time” or “I really don’t want it, don’t need it, etc.” In my case, I’m working on the bigger picture and don’t need the item. (Wants and Needs will be discussed in another article).
Why can’t you? Ask yourself this when that word creeps into your brain or jumps out of your mouth without notice. I told myself that I couldn’t dance until about 2005. Looking back I have no idea why, but I would always say, “I can’t dance” when asked. In about 2005 (sad it took me so long), I thought, “Why can’t I dance?” It was either I don’t want to OR don’t know how to. In this case it was I didn’t know how.
Examine the Facts
Let’s use the dance example. I analyzed myself to figure out “why” I couldn’t dance. This was done by asking myself, “What attributes are needed to dance?” Being a musician I realized I have rhythm. Clumsiness has never been an issue. Improvising musically over the years taught me to listen to all the parts of music and play with what I choose. The fact that I hadn’t taken any dance lessons since I was young seemed to be what made me think I could not dance….DUH! The answer wasn’t that I can’t dance, I just didn’t know how…yet! It was a comfort and knowledge issue not lack of ability. Now the question was, “How?”
Just Do it!
It seems like I’ve heard that somewhere before, but it truly is as simple as that…..’Just do it’!
A friend told me that there was an Argentine Tango class that met on at a bar in a near by city. So I said, ‘Lets Just Do It! I went, picked up the steps fairly quickly (Argentine Tango is a challenging dance) and had a blast. It was so much fun I went to classes regularly and asked for feedback. I learned what I needed to do to improve my skills. It was great and I met a lot of interesting people so continued to go attend and practiced with a friend Bottom Line is now “I love Argentine Tango.” That’s a far cry from “I can’t dance which had been programmed in my subconcious until I eliminated can’t from my vocabulary.
Open Your Mind
Find something you “can’t” do and decide ….is it I don’t WANT to OR I don’t know HOW to?” If you keep asking “why,” eventually you’ll get to the core issue. In mental health I use this lot. You can always make a list. I recommend thinking on paper. Get out as much as you can. It’s a great release and you’ll surprise yourself. If people “can’t” do something either they don’t WANT to (ask yourself WHY) or they don’t know HOW to, then ask how do I overcome that challenge. Best of luck to you!
About the author:
Geo Swanko is part of Mutantville Productions (www.mutantville.com) an independent filmmaking company specializing in horror. Geo has started posting articles related to filmmaking, self improvement, Argentine Tango, music, marketing, etc… on his blog at www.GeoSwanko.com.