I have a hate-hate relationship with the phrase “I CAN’T”.
It doesn’t matter if it’s someone telling me I can’t have or do something, or me telling myself “I Can’t,” or someone else saying “I Can’t” about something they want. That phrase absolutely irks me and all of my annoyance buttons are thoroughly pushed.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are legitimate can’ts. For example, a paraplegic truly can’t walk. I’m not talking about that kind of can’t. I’m talking about the intellectual and emotional can’ts we allow to control our lives.
Can’t means “not able.” Since other people are able to do those very same things, I have found that, most of the time, when someone says, “I Can’t,” it really means they don’t want something bad enough to pursue it, or, it’s not worth the effort/sacrifice, or, if they can’t do something perfectly they aren’t willing to try, or, their fear is overwhelming their faith. Those are honest reasons for not doing something. “I Can’t” is not.
In truth, there are relatively few times we can legitimately say “I can’t.” I have found that when I dig deeper and find out what is really causing the “I Can’t” feeling, I discover the real reason is likely that I am either unwilling to do what it takes to accomplish it (sacrifice/effort) or I’m flat out afraid to try (fear).
That said, there are many things in my life that I could have done but didn’t do because I would have had to give up my ethics or morals. Other things, I could have done but didn’t do because they would have been detrimental to my children. I do not regret the things I gave up for these reasons. I grew and was blessed for not sacrificing the wrong things.
There are many ways to overcome the “I can’ts” once you know what is really holding you back. In some cases, if I break a big goal down into smaller tasks, I can eventually get it done (think college – it took 20 years but I did it). In other instances, I often just need to gather more information before I have enough confidence to try (Google and You Tube have answers to everything – some of them actually useful). Sometimes I might need to find another way to get something done (think in-ground garden when your knees won’t take the bending and kneeling – time to switch to container and vertical gardening). Sometimes having a work buddy makes accomplishing a goal or task possible (for my farm-y stuff, my grandson is filling that post for now).
While I’m not perfect at it, when I have been able to eliminate “I Can’t” from my vocabulary, look at a problem/topic more honestly, and replace “I Can’t” with “How Can I?” I have found that I am able to do a lot more than I could have imagined.
A video by one of the YouTubers I watch, addresses this sentiment as it applied to his first year of farming. Watch what Jason says here:
What We Learned Our 1st Year on the Farm (I CAN) – YouTube
An exciting addendum to that “Can Do” attitude he spoke about back in 2017: through his efforts to continue to learn and grow, and overcoming doubts, fears, and nay-sayers, Jason has developed Cog Hill Farm, and other related activities, so that he was able quit his “regular” job at the end of April 2021 and is now farming/homesteading full-time.
That’s what I CAN can do for anyone.