Posted January 13, 2010

My Hatred for the Word "Can't"

Every day I meet people who want to change something about themselves, whether it means losing a few pounds, getting stronger, recovering from an injury or medical condition, they all want to make something different about themselves. Some people are easier to change than others. A client who is in good shape and wants to lose the last 5 pounds before a big wedding?? Easy!! Someone who has been battling diabetes for 20 years? No problem!! There is no physical challenge that you can throw at me where I don’t know how to get the desired result. I am not saying this to blow my own horn, but quite literally, nothing is impossible.

That is why I get so frustrated when someone tells me they “can’t” do some type of challenge that I have laid out for them. “Can’t” means that it is impossible. “Can’t means you don’t believe in your own abilities. “Can’t” means (worst of all) you’re not willing to do what is in front of you. I hate the word “can’t”. It has stood in the way of more brilliant, exuberant, charismatic and amazing people’s success than any other force of nature ever known. I have cancer patients who exercise daily because they still can, so when someone tells me they are too tired, they “can’t” exercise because they don’t have the energy, or they “can’t” eat right because they don’t have the time, I start getting a little twitchy.

When we were kids, “can’t” didn’t exist. Sometime after we were hanging upside down from the monkey bars from our knees while our friends were riding their bikes while standing on the cross bars, we started to get scared of things. We started to get people telling us that we had to be the best, to succeed, and that we were less of a man/woman if we failed for any reason. Worst of all, we began to believe them. So instead of jumping at the chance to try something new with an “I wonder if I can,” attitude, we started to shy away from them with an “I’d better not, it might hurt” attitude.

We give up before we even start. But here’s the kicker….No one remembers the times they fail, but they will always remember their attempts. We all need to try new things, to take new risks, to get off the couch and live for a change. Everything we have ever done in our lives has come from taking a risk, big or small, and saying that we believe in ourselves enough to see the end result.

I tried to get into medical school this year. And failed.
I applied to speak at over a dozen conferences last year. None accepted me.

I’m going to apply for a masters degree.
I am speaking in Las Vegas this March for one of the biggest organizations for personal training, and probably five others before the year is out.

Failures in any adventure allow us to learn how to improve, what to avoid, and how much we can actually accomplish.