Power of I Can’t – Insights from the Wilderness #165

Power of I Can't“Oh, I can’t do that. That’s for young people”. “Oh I can’t do that. You need a lot of money to do something like that”.

“I can’t do that” are the most powerful four words we use to shut down our life. Thank heavens Thomas Edison didn’t use them when he was trying to invent the light bulb; or Henry Ford when he was trying to build his first car.

When I left the world of engineering management and began homesteading in the mid 1970”s everyone said “you can’t do that”. What they really meant was “they” couldn’t have done that—-move from a good paying job and career, and begin learning the skills needed to milk goats, tend bees, garden, and live off the land. Today I look back at that decision and I see clearly the beginning of the life that I was meant to live; ministry, pastoral psychotherapy, writing, and eventually eight years living on the road in a motorhome volunteering in some of the most amazing natural scenic wonders and State Parks in the western United States.

Every choice and decision we make in life is a fork in the road. Every choice and decision introduces a new outcome or consequence for our life. Stated another way, every choice or decision we make, or fail to make, creates a different reality for our lives.

Every time we use the words “Oh I can’t do that”, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because we don’t do that thing; that thing does not enter our lives. Every time we use the words “Oh I can’t do that” our primitive ego; that part of us that resists change, creates a self-imposed life of powerlessness and status quo for us.

The next time we are tempted to use those words “Oh I can’t do that”, we need to take a moment and ask ourselves is that true, or are we simply afraid to take that fork in the road? Regardless of our decision, we need to take a moment and ask ourselves, “I wonder what new insights and adventures that road would open in my life if I said “Oh yes, I can do that”!

“Oh I can’t do that,” denies the reality that our life is a process; an adventure; a life that is becoming and evolving. The only question we get to ask ourselves in life is “do I have the courage to move into a future that’s unknown and embrace the unfolding process of my life, or am I going to maintain the status quo?

One road will become an unfolding adventure; the other will simply be another day in our lives.

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One Response to Power of I Can’t – Insights from the Wilderness #165

  1. Lindsey H. October 1, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

    I agree. I think saying “I can’t do that” is too often an easy-out. Whether it’s used as an excuse out of fear, laziness, or insecurities, it’s definitely going to affect you in the way that you will never experience that thing because you aren’t allowing yourself to try. Maybe by replacing “I can’t do that” with “I could try that”, it would at least be the push we need to have a little faith in ourselves. And hey, you never know what you can do until you try. What do we have to lose, right?

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