Posted by: brandextenders | April 22, 2013

Can’t is Not Only a Contraction, it’s a Roadblock

I can only image the number of times I’ve used the word “can’t” in my many years on this planet. I would suspect it’s in the tens of thousands and rarely, if ever, was it used to inspire and empower. Can’t is the contraction for can and not, two words that separately don’t have the negative connotation inherent in can’t. It’s a word that limits my abilities by saying its O.K. not to push my boundaries since I can’t. These are a few of the ways I find myself using this contraction:

  • I can’t do this, that or the other so instead of trying, I’ll just stay in my comfort zone
  • I can’t make that call on a prospect because I might get rejected
  • I can’t have this dream because I don’t have the ability or experience to see it come true
  • I can’t be a millionaire because I have to have money to make money, right?

While we all use many words that are limiting, I believe can’t is one of the worst because it reinforces a lack of confidence and an attitude of negativity in our minds. Our brain is an amazing computer and as with any computer, the output it produces is based on the input it receives. Garbage in, garbage out as the saying goes.

So how do we change our behavior to ensure our thoughts and actions align to help us reach the goals and dreams we want to achieve? The first step is to take responsibility for your life, 100% responsibility with no excuses. It’s not your parent’s fault, it’s not your spouses or your kids or your co-workers fault that you aren’t making more money, that you didn’t get the promotion you sought or aren’t driving the car you think you deserve. There is only one person to blame for where you are in life and that person stares back at you in the mirror every day.

i-can-do-itI’ve dedicated myself to eliminating negativity in my life by understanding that where I am and where I will be in the future is a result of my choices. Not only the big choices I’m faced with every day, but the little ones as well. Here’s what I’m doing to harvest the amazing results my brain can achieve if I give it the right food.

  1. Stop blaming others for my lack of success. While it may be true that other people affect my life, the bottom line is there are always alternatives. If I don’t like the results I’m getting from the choices I’m making then I need to make different choices.
  2. Create a clear list of goals, both short-term and long-term. If I don’t have goals I’m like a cork floating on water, going wherever the tides take me. Goals ground me; they give me a path to success and a map to follow. If I know where I’m going then I only have one person to blame if I don’t get there. The key is reviewing my goals daily and if need be, adjusting them as a pilot or sailor would to stay on the path I’ve laid out for myself.
  3. Visualize my success. I’ve pulled pictures off the Internet and from magazines that literally give me pictures of my goals. The brain loves imagery and by using pictures and visualizing my success, the neurons in my brain will find a way to make it happen. There is a lot of research on this topic that proves the old adage; a picture is worth a thousand words.
  4. Surround myself with positive people. Think about the people you are with the most. Are they positive people or do they tend to complain and blame? Success breeds success and surrounding myself with positive and inspiring people will keep me motivated to succeed. Vince Lombardi, head coach of the Green Bay Packers said, “Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence.” I will surround myself with people who exude confidence and success.
  5. Make my self-talk positive. It’s estimated we have about 500,000 thoughts each day and for many of us, the majority of those thoughts are negative. Our self-talk was conditioned early on by our parents, friends, television, movies and the media. We can change it though by catching ourselves talking negatively and challenging it. If I call myself an idiot, I have to ask why? I must begin talking to myself the way I would expect to talk with others. I’ll be positive and optimistic and open my heart and mind to a new universe of thoughts and opportunity.

Words can empower us or they can weaken us. Think of all the things you’ve done in your life that you wouldn’t have even tried if you thought “I can’t” instead of “I can.” Remember your successes in life, write them down and review them whenever you are feeling down. You have the choice to be positive and to inspire yourself which in turn will inspire others. A great book I would encourage you to read is  “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield, co-author of the Chicken Soup for Your Soul series of books. As far as we know we only have one shot at this life and it’s up to each of us to make it extraordinary. The choice is ours each and every day.


  1. Love your action list. This is something I’m trying to work on right now and the reminder is great. Thanks!

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