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  • Writer's pictureWill


Are you confusing can't with won't?

We all have said, "I can't...." to an opportunity for growth in our lives. At the core, we are responding to the perceived stress of saying yes to the opportunity. We know that growth is going to require some effort which will just add to our existing stress. So, we choose the path of least resistance and, all too often, we let the opportunity slip away.

In those situations, when we say "I can't" we are actually saying "I won't." Saying "I can't" softens the blow to our self-esteem when we don't want to own a difficult decision. So we create the external barrier, a mountain if you will, to the opportunity and success.

For example, a few years ago my medical condition and low self-esteem led to me putting on a significant amount of weight. A close friend regularly asked me to join him for a morning workout and I would repeatedly tell him "I can't..." Truth is I could have, but I was choosing not to. I always created an external reason that I was unable to join him. The more I said "I can't", the more I began to believe the excuses. You see, I internalized them and they became truth. The excuses mounted, my health continued to decline and my weight continued to increase.

Soon, I found myself saying, "I wish I could lose weight and feel better, but I can't."

There was no way I could conquer my mountain of excuses without being honest with myself. I had to own my decisions and stop adding to the mountain with "I can't." In that moment I made some changes to my mindset and began to use "I won't."

So, I said to myself, "I wish I could lose weight and feel better, but I won't..."

Pretty emotionally jarring statement but we finally got to the root of the issue. With it finally out in the open, I was able to begin to work through the issues and get started on a better me. Three years later, I am working out on a consistent basis and my health has improved. I took on a new challenge of helping others.

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