Perhaps I have learned this lesson later in life than most, but a recent discovery for me is that when someone says, “It can’t be done,” quite often they mean, “I don’t want to do it.”
I used to go polar on someone who told me something couldn’t be done, especially if I knew it could. By polar, I mean I immediately jumped to the position of “yes, it can be done” and would get caught up in the argument rather than getting to a solution.
I had an interaction yesterday with an electrician called in to consult on a wiring situation at my house. He told me that what I wanted done couldn’t be done. “I’ve been doing this work for 25 years and you can’t do what you want to do.” I immediately requested that he present me with an alternate solution to my situation. He reached back again for the very comfortable “it can’t be done” line. I knew we were done at that point but . . .
Just for fun and to test my theory, I probed further. After a bit more questioning, he came around to, “I’m not comfortable doing that.” I thanked him for his time and went on to looking for another electrician.
In the interest of honesty and not to waste anyone’s time, consider telling someone that you don’t want to do something vs. making up a dismissive response like “it can’t be done.” People will respect you more and will be able to go on to another solution without engaging in the sideshow of an argument.
“It can’t be done” may be the correct answer, but you would do well to temper it with something like, “In my opinion, it can’t be done” or “Based on my experience, it can’t be done. Maybe someone else can help you accomplish that.”
I now have another response to choose from when someone says, “It can’t be done.” My new response is to avoid the sidetracking argument and to recognize they don’t want to do it and move on.
All the best,
Be Sociable, Share!