Monthly Archives: November 2017

Can’t Versus Don’t



“When someone tells you can’t do something, perhaps you should consider that they are only telling you what they can’t do.”  Sheldon Cahoon

This is certainly something helpful to remember before getting upset with someone who appears to be trying to limit you. We see this a lot with parents and grandparents limiting young children who are wanting to do something. “Watch out, careful, that’s for big kids,” etc. It may be that you have opened yourself up and been vulnerable with some friends about what you want to do.  Only to find that they have nothing positive to say, and they remind you of your failures in the past.

I have just read a post in a face book group that I’m part of. The author was talking about the different energy between the 2 words can’t and don’t. For example, “I can’t miss my workout today.” Or “I don’t miss workouts.” The words that we use not only help us make better choices on an individual basis, but also make it easier to stay on track with long-term goals. So why does “I don’t,” work better than, “I can’t.” Our words help to frame our sense of empowerment. And the words that you use create a feedback loop in our brains that impacts our future behaviours. Every time you tell yourself, “I can’t,” you’re creating a feedback loop that is a reminder of your limitations. This terminology indicates that you’re forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do. In comparison, when you tell yourself, “I don’t,” you’re creating a feedback loop that reminds you of your control and power over the situation. It’s a phrase that can propel you towards breaking your bad habits and following your good ones.

Heidi Grant Halvorsen, director of the Motivation Science Centre at Columbia University explained the difference in response this way. “I don’t,” is experienced as a choice, so it feels empowering. It’s an affirmation of your determination and willpower. “I can’t,” isn’t a choice. It’s a restriction, that’s being imposed upon you. “I don’t,” is a psychologically empowering way to say “no,” while the phrase, “I can’t,” is a psychologically draining way to say, “no.”  Does this sound like something you can try? Notice how you feel inside with the 2 different responses.

The original article was written by James Clear.

Enjoy choosing the empowering way to say, “no.”

What Would You Like Help With?



“When smart people are stuck, they ask for help.”  Steve Jobs

Some people would consider that they are showing some sort of ignorance to the world if they asked for help. Others have developed a sense that they don’t need help from other people. Often of course we don’t actually know what we don’t know and therefore don’t reach out for the help we need. Here in New Zealand we are very proud of our DIY attitude to life, but sometimes that can also be our Achilles heel. This can definitely be the case with our own personal development. There is a saying, “that we can’t see the picture if we’re in the frame.”

We can buy a personal development book or a programme and we can understand intellectually what the author is saying, but when it comes to integrating the new practices into our own lives we’re not always sure where to start. Often a good friend can see the things in us that we would benefit from changing but we stay stuck in our old patterns because we don’t ask for the one little clue that could help us improve our relationships at work, with family and friends. What is it going to take you to ask for help from your limiting beliefs and patterns?

Enjoy connecting with another human being by asking for help!