Having spent the last 30 years as a people helper, I can say, with confidence, that the two words I’ve heard the most from people who profess they want to make changes are: “I can’t.”
I’ve come to find that it’s not a lack of ability that brings those words out; it’s a lack of willingness. A more accurate statement would be: “I’m unwilling to make an attempt.”
“I can’t” is a cover.
This two word utterance covers over and attempts to hide our unwillingness to make an effort.
Reminds me of a story . . . Years ago I witnessed “I can’t” at a bowling ally. A group of friends had gotten together for dinner at a restaurant and after the gathering it was suggested that we go to a bowling alley just for fun. Most of us had not bowled in years or never bowled at all. In short, we mostly all sucked.
This one person made two attempts to roll the ball down the lane and missed every pin on both occasions. They exclaimed, “I can’t bowl” and then sat down. One of the people in the group, who did know how to bowl, offered some polite encouragement and instruction to make their next attempt go smoother. They responded with “I can’t bowl” and sat out the rest of the night.
After the event, I probed a bit further with this person and found out that the thing that kept them from bowling that night was the appearance of looking “silly.”
They had the capacity to learn; they were just unwilling to go through the process.
“I can’t” is a programmed reaction that retards the one quality we need to move forward – Willingness.
In my experience, “I can’t” most often translates to “I’m unwilling.”
What are you unwilling to do in your attempt to move forward?
Unwillingness is your roadblock.
It may seem like semantics but when you say each of the following phrases, they will produce a different feeling in your body. Say each phrase and notice the difference for yourself;
Phrase One: “I can’t.”
Phrase Two: “I’m unwilling.”
If you’re anything like me, “I can’t” puts the onus “out there somewhere”; “I’m unwilling’ brings it back to you.
When you recognize the difference, “I just can’t lose weight” becomes “Up until now, I’ve been unwilling to do what’s necessary to lose weight.”
The shift in language makes the “impossible” more possible. Once you realize “I can”t’ is a little monkey pretending to be a 500 pound gorilla, you discover the quality you need to move forward – Willingness.
All the best,
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