It’s time to turn the page, learn how to think positively and stop denying ourselves the possibility of being better than what we are. Where does this notion of can’t come from? I wonder about it constantly. We throw it out there and say it to ourselves like it’s nothing. I am certainly guilty of it more often than not. The truth is, that word is 100% something. It has immense power over how we think, how we feel, and what we do in life. It influences our decisions to take action. The word can’t limits our true potential and prevents us from great knowledge and success. Doesn’t that sound sad? I say it does. Now, why say can’t when we can ask how instead?
BORN WITH BOUNDARIES
One of the very first words that we learn as a child is the word, no. We learn it quickly from the people around us and use it often to reject something unknown, dissatisfying, or challenging. The word no is, ultimately, our way of creating and learning about boundaries. Boundaries are important to keep us mentally and physically safe. They are an important part of how our personalities and habits develop. But, when does it become too much? No turns into can’t and this becomes an even more insurmountable invisible boundary. This boundary is much worse because it reflects deeply on our perception of ourselves. Can’t speaks to our hearts and our identities.
THE FEAR IN CAN’T
How many times have you said to yourself, “I can’t?” I have countless times.
“I can’t dance.”
“I can’t finish this project on time.”
“I can’t be myself.”
“I can’t speak in front of people.”
“I can’t afford to do this.”
“I can’t save $1,000.”
“I can’t meet new people.”
“I can’t learn another language.”
When I think back, I feel quite sad and disappointed in myself. I created these barriers for myself. But, why? The only explanation is fear. I was scared of judgment. I was scared of failure. I was scared of how I would feel to not be scared and actually accomplish my goals. Maybe, it was just laziness. We all feel this way. Again, it’s an inherent quality that we need to protect ourselves. Yet, for most people, telling ourselves can’t becomes a prison. It has too much control over us and we have to find a way to break through this barrier and learn how to think positively in order to be able to truly choose how we want to feel and act.
WHY SAY CAN’T WHEN WE CAN ASK HOW?
Can’t means defeat and stagnancy. Nobody, especially young people, should ever feel defeated. We are so much stronger than that and have so much more potential. I challenge us to ask ourselves, “Why say can’t when we can ask how?” The universe is limitless so we should dare to dream. We should dare to be different. Let’s be curious and educate ourselves so that we can think outside the box. We can do more. We can be more. Instead of saying, “I can’t pay off my debt” or “I can’t lose 10lbs,” we need to ask ourselves, “How can we make this happen?” Using the word how is proactive. It requires thought, education, and action. How means potential and growth. It is the path to accomplishing any goal that we set for ourselves.
RE-WRITE YOUR STORY
Wrapping your head around a new way of thinking is not easy. The mindset and mental game are real. I believe that the best way to train yourself to ask how is through thoughtful visualization and goal setting. Imagine the possibilities and what you want out of life for yourself, for your friends, for your family. What inspires you? What do you want from your relationships, career, finances, mental and physical health? Write down all of your hopes and dreams. Discover your why. It’s okay to be inspired. That’s where the change begins. Then, you will see the doors begin to open.
EDUCATION LEADS TO OPPORTUNITIES
After you have set your goals, the next stage is planning. In order to plan, you need to educate yourself. It may not sound fun and it may be tedious but education creates opportunities. Once you are aware of the various paths and options to reach your goal, you will be able to answer the question, “How will I be able to …?” Not only will it lead you to the how, it will also lead you to the path that works best for your personality and your needs. Let’s say you are asking yourself, “How can I pay off my debt?” In your research, you will surely find information about the snowball method or the avalanche method. After reading about the two methods, you choose the snowball method because it allows you to tackle the smallest debt first and experience those small wins in order to keep you motivated. If you chose the avalanche method, you may have simply given up. Educating yourself on all available options leads you to the path of least resistance and increases your chances of success in accomplishing your goals.
The only way forward is to be curious and ask questions. A statement such as, “I can’t do this,” is finite and it’s lazy. There is no room for change but we know that is not true. As human beings, we are capable of absorbing so much knowledge, capable of innovation and self-improvement. Instead of statements, we should be asking ourselves questions and allow ourselves to reach for the stars. How can I make this happen? How will this be possible? What would my life be like if…? What would I do if…? We have to set aside our fears and change our mindset. It’s a difficult task but we all have the strength and the courage to be brave. We can all learn how to think positively and re-write the various chapters in our lives so that our stories never have to end.