Monday, September 23, 2013

Dealing with 'You Can't'

You can’t do that.

You’re too short to play basketball.

You’re not smart enough to go to med school.

You’re not talented enough to write a book worth being published.

Have you ever heard anything similar to these phrases?  Have you ever thought anything similar?

We’ll call these the ‘you can’ts.’  They keep you from not only achieving our goals and dreams but they keep us from even attempting.

We all know our shortcomings – better than anyone else.  But when that’s all we do, focus on what we lack – we never have the chance to prove ourselves wrong.  What we really need is a little perspective.

By the time Alexander the Great was 30, he had conquered the known world.

By the time Michael Phelps was 26, he’d been the most successful athlete in the Olympics three years in a row and became the most decorated Olympian of all time.

By the time Florence Nightengale was 40, she founded the first nursing school in London.

What did all of these people have in common?  They ignored the naysayers and the doubters.  They believed in themselves and they didn’t give up at the first failure.  The pressed on and persevered.  

Failure is only failure when we stop trying.

The best way to silence the ‘you can’ts’ is by proving them wrong.  Just take the first step.

I remember when I first moved to Spain, I went to my beginning Spanish class – having already taken 3 years in high school.  We had a pretest to determine how much we already knew.  I stared at the test the entire 50 minutes.  I had no idea what they were asking or what I was expected to do.  Needless to say, I failed the test.

The next class, my teacher asked me to stay after class.  She told me in no uncertain terms that I would not pass the class.  She said that I should drop the class because there was no way for me to catch up.  As you might expect, I took her words to heart.  I knew I was bad at memorizing.  I knew I didn’t get Spanish and that it was hard.  I almost dropped the class, but then I had one single thought.

Who was she to decide if I would pass or fail?

I decided to take the class and prove to her, and more especially myself that I could learn Spanish.  The class had 2 midterms and a final.  I failed the first midterm.  I got a C on the second.  And I aced the final.  I ended the class with a B average.  And all because I didn’t listen to someone telling me that I can’t.

Why postpone our dreams when all we have to do is think that we can and take the necessary steps.  Don’t ever let the ‘I can’ts’ control you.  Prove them wrong.