Whether you say "I can" or "I can't", you're right...
As a writer it is important to know, “how to turn a phrase”. I need to be able to convey my message in the most succinct way possible, yet with enough description and action to keep it interesting. Too many words and it gets weedy and boring, not enough words and it becomes staccato and bland.
I love using words to paint vivid mental pictures. Just as a painter needs to know the complexity of the colors on his palate in order to know how they will mix and appear on the canvas; a writer needs to know the meaning of words and phrases in order to create a believable and beautiful story.
We are impressionable human beings. We repeat what we hear. But something important to note is that we subconsciously live out what we say. Words, believe it or not, have a lot more power on our subconscious mind than you think. Deep within the reaches of your mind, the real definition of the word you are using is there and when you say it, especially repeatedly, you are convincing your mind of its truth and it becomes an attitude of truth.
There is a great quote I read somewhere once that says “Whether you say ‘I can’ or ‘I can’t’, you’re right.”
Everyone uses this phrase. It can’t (ha ha) be that dangerous right?
It actually can be. Let me explain why.
The word CAN is powerful, yet conditional.
Definition of can:
be able to; be able to through acquired knowledge or skill; have the opportunity or possibility to
It is conditional depending on our own willingness to gain the skill or education, change our circumstances, or how we deal with our circumstances, in order to succeed.
The word can’t (or cannot) has no definition. Let me repeat that. The word can’t (or cannot) has no definition!
Why? Because it is the opposite of can. Because it does not exist. It is not a real word. It is a word we have made up to describe the absence of can. It is just like the word cold—it does not exist. Darkness does not exist, evil does not exist, death does not exist—they are all words we have made up in order to describe the absence of the real thing.
Can’t is poisonous. It goes into the mind poisoning hope, poisoning confidence, poisoning self-worth, poisoning will, until it turns into something even more terrible. Fear.
Fear is even more debilitating than “can’t”, it is the monster that is created from feeding can’t. The idea of “can’t” grows the fear that if we try we will fail. We won’t ever be good enough, or strong enough, or smart enough. As these two concepts “can’t” and “fear” coalesce and grow we become paralyzed by their seductive lies, and we lose our will to fight back and become more than our fear.
Can I make a suggestion? From this day on try to recognize that “can’t” is a choice. Just as fear is also a choice.
I love the quote from Neal A. Maxwell, "Discouragement is not the absence of adequacy, but the absence of courage." When you get frustrated, don't say "I can't". Just because you don't succeed the first time doesn't mean you can't do it, it just means try harder.
The next time you are about to use the phrase “I can’t” replace it with this phrase, “I will”.
When you say “I can” you are saying you are capable. You can find the skills and education necessary to achieve. “I will” is an action sentence. You are saying you are actually going to do it. You are telling your subconscious mind that you believe in your ability to do whatever it takes to succeed. You are removing the poison of self-doubt and fear and replacing it with hope. "I will" motivates us to overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of success because we are no longer dwelling on the obstacle, we are only seeing the finish line.
Do you think a track and field athlete who has to jump hurdles only sees the obstacle of the hurdles? I don’t. I think he/she sees the desired outcome and then focuses on the strength needed to jump the hurdles, not on the hurdles themselves.
There is no definition for the word “won’t or will not” either. In fact the word “not” has only a definition as to its use—it is used to suggest the negative of other words.
That puts the phrases “I will”, and “I will not”, as perfect truths with no room for doubt, or fear, to cloud them. If you will, you will. If you will not, you will not. There are no excuses for “will” and “will not”. They are truths.
Choice and firm action. You might be surprised how when you use the phrases “I will” or “I won’t” most people won’t argue as much as they will if you use “I can” or “I can’t”. Their subconscious minds recognize the power and commitment of “will” too.
"Will” needs no justification. Very rarely is the commitment of “will” related to something bad. If you are doing something wrong it is because you can, not because you willfully desire wrongdoing. We are inherently good creatures who desire light and truth above all things. Our will is much like our subconscious self. It wants peace, love, and contentment on a deeper level. If we allow our will to come out, can’t disappears.
The phrases “I can’t” or “I won’t” are age old and hard to avoid. They crop up in my books, because my characters are human.
But I hope together we will come to the knowledge of the truth and power of self-will and confidence, and the next time a task seems impossible we will look at the skills necessary to achieve the impossible and find the way to go out and acquire them.
"The only way to achieve the possible is to attempt the impossible again and again." -Hermann Hesse
Let's achieve the impossible.