Four letter words are bad

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Four letter words are bad

Of course they are. I, for one, was always told that when you use four letter words, it makes you sound unintelligent. But that was referring to the words you aren’t supposed to use in school, church, or around your grandmother. As it turns out, there are at least two that we all use every day that are far worse. These are “can”‘t and “won’t.” Why shouldn’t I say “can’t?” I’m glad you asked. Here is the simple truth: what you tell yourself has power. If you don’t believe me, try some of the things I will suggest and find out for yourself.

How often have you tried to do something and failed. Any human will have a high number, and that is ok. Now picture something at which you have succeeded. It can be anything, even if it is as simple as fixing dinner, or as complex as starting a successful business. What was your mindset when you started? Have you EVER managed to succeed when you begin with the mindset of “I can’t do this?”

If not, read on! I am not going to tell you how to think positive. This seems to lead to people telling themselves beautiful lies. I am going to suggest that you tell yourself what is true. Simple, wonderful truth, based in facts and evidence. Let’s try an example.

Think of that one thing you really want to do but “can’t.” Now we’re going to find out if that’s true. Why can’t you do this great thing? Is it because you have failed at it in the past? Irrelevant. All humans fail a lot, we have already established that. Is it because you think you’re not smart enough? Intelligence can be learned and taught, ask any “expert” and they will tell you that they have failed repeatedly. Not physically able? Almost certainly wrong. Has anyone with your injury/disability/body type succeeded at this endeavor? If so, you can too!

My point is not that it is bad to be realistic. My point is that the words “can’t” and “won’t” are NOT usually realistic in the way we apply them to ourselves. Often, we might say “I can’t” when the 100% true answer is “I can’t do that YET.” Why is the difference important? It’s not at first. But over time, as we tell ourselves that we can’t do something, our brain comes to absolutely believe it, and we forget to examine the idea of creative alternatives and solutions. In doing this, we limit ourselves and forget our potential.

I am going to offer a challenge to you. Go one week without saying or thinking to yourself “I can’t.” If you accidentally tell yourself or someone else that you can’t do something, mark it down. See how many marks you have at the end of the week, and you will have an idea of how often you tell yourself the lie of “I can’t.”

Article by:

Jonathan Pishner
National Certified Counselor