There are two words in our language that are responsible for destroying more successful plans than any others. They’re used so often most of us are not even conscious we say them. On the surface, they are just words. Subconsciously, they set up a whole mindset that undermines success, creates unhappiness and stifles creativity.
The words are “can’t” and “but”. Properly speaking, “can’t” should only apply when there is a physical or literal impossibility. For instance, “I can’t jump from the Earth to the moon”; it is physically impossible to make that leap. Unfortunately, we’ve grown to using it for a whole myriad of excuses.
We use “can’t” to give ourselves an easy out. I can’t, so let me go on my way. I can’t do it so I don’t have to feel guilty. I just can’t. There are so many better ways to phrase what is going on that will allow for possibilities. Here are some examples:
|Destructive Statement:||I can’t achieve my dreams because I don’t have enough money.|
|Possible meaning:||I don’t want to achieve my dreams and I’ll use money as an excuse.|
|or||I’m embarrassed by not having the money I need so I won’t do anything.|
|Supportive Statement:||How can I raise the money I need so I can achieve my dreams?|
|or||I don’t have enough money now to achieve my dreams. What creative ways can I find to either gain more money or decrease the expenses to achieving my dreams?|
|Destructive Statement:||I can’t do the exercises because I don’t have enough time.|
|Possible meaning:||I don’t think I’m worth taking time to do the exercises.|
|or||Everything else I do is more important to me than the exercises.|
|Supportive Statement:||What can I sacrifice to allow me the time I need to do the exercises?|
|or||What benefits will I get from doing these exercises and what is that worth to me in comparison to everything else in my life?|
|Destructive Statement:||I can’t quit smoking.|
|Possible meaning:||I’m afraid if I quit smoking I’ll pick up a worse habit.|
|or||I don’t care about life that much.|
|Supportive Statement:||What small step can I take today to lessen my dependency on smoking?|
|or||Who do I know I turn to for help in quitting this addiction?|
Realize what you are doing when you use “can’t”; you are allowing yourself to quit. Is it really “can’t” or is it “I don’t want to”, or “I don’t know how”, or “I won’t”, or “I’m afraid”? What if you didn’t allow yourself to quit? What would you be capable of then? Try wringing “can’t” from your ways for a day. Do you think you can or do you think, “I can’t!”
The other worst word is “but”. “But” is a little more subtle; it’s the qualifier we use when we want to say something without really saying it or when we really mean something different. It’s the qualifier we put in that could really be left out. When trying to determine the real meaning in a sentence try taking everything that appears before the “but” and then listen for meaning.
|Destructive Statement:||I’d really like to help but I have to work.|
|Adjusted Statement||I have to work.|
|Meaning:||I will be at work instead of helping.|
|or||I don’t really want to help so I’ll use work as an acceptable excuse.|
|Destructive Statement:||My dreams are important but I have others to think of first.|
|Adjusted Statement||I have others to think of first.|
|Meaning:||Other people are more important than my dreams.|
|or||I’m afraid to go after my dreams so I’ll focus on other people.|
“But” has a much greater impact on our inner voice conversation. It’s easy to justify being nice to other people when using this word. However, when you are talking to yourself is when “but” becomes very destructive. How often do you use this word inside your own head? Think of the possibilities if you look at your feelings in their true meaning. Is it time to wring “but” from your ways, for even a day?
While you are wrestling with these worst words, listen to someone you consider very successful. How often do you hear these words coming from their mouth? No very many times, I’m sure.