“I Can’t” has many meanings. Can’t simply means can not. According to Merriam Webster, can is defined as:
be physically or mentally able to
That is just one of the many definitions of the verb can; so can’t means that you are not physically or mentally able to. We say can’t all the time. We often believe that we are physically unable to, but usually there’s a deeper meaning there – a mental reason we believe we cannot.
I’m looking at a couple of translations of can’t.
I don’t want to
How many times have you heard from people that they can’t run? Either they tried, and it’s too hard, or they can’t because they’re too old, too heavy, too busy, and so on.
What they really mean is they don’t want to look foolish, they don’t want to give up something to invest the time in learning to run, they don’t want other people to be laughing at them.
Turn can’t into can: if you want something badly enough, you will prioritize it. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of you — besides, most people are far too busy worrying about how you are thinking about them to pay you much mind. Don’t ever say can’t until you’ve actually tried something — if you truly can’t, or you find out you truly don’t want to — there’s no shame in that. The shame is in the not trying.
I’m afraid to
It’s so easy to ignore that fearful voice inside by simply saying you can’t. What are you truly afraid of? Hurting yourself? Join a beginner runner group or hire yourself a trainer/coach. Being last? It’s possible, of course, but chances are pretty good you won’t be (spoiler alert: in most races the walkers are the last people, and they’re usually having a pretty good time). Looking foolish? Read a few blogs, books, and magazines about running. You might still look foolish, but at least you’re unlikely to make as many rookie mistakes.
Turn can’t into can: as Nike says so wisely: Just do it. Feel the fear, and just do it anyway. I guarantee you you will feel so empowered by conquering your fears.
Can’t crops up in all areas of life
Of course this advice applies to all life, not just running. Changing careers. Moving. Starting a family. Losing weight. If you believe you can’t? Guess what: you probably won’t. But what if you stopped listening to the stories you tell yourself and believe you can?
All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.
— Walt Disney
When in your life have you used “I can’t”?
How did that work out for you? Do you regret it?
What will you start telling yourself you can do?