Friday, October 10, 2008

CAN'T is a Four Letter Word!

If you think you can do a thing,
or think you can’t do a thing
– you’re right. ~ Henry Ford


I received an email this morning from a friend, saying she’d thought about me when she read the article she’d attached. It had to do with changing negative attitudes by changing our language. I was thrilled and honored that the item made her think of me (thanks for the compliment, Margie!)

The article, written by a fitness and nutrition coach, deals with the words, “I can’t.” The author feels particularly challenged working with a new client, who has 75 pounds to lose. It’s not the amount of weight that is the hurdle: it’s the woman’s mental attitude. The client sees the world in terms of things she can’t do: she can’t exercise because she has a bad knee; she can’t find a large variety of fruits and vegetables at her small, local market.

Can you see the barriers this person is creating for herself with the words she uses?It amazes me how we do this to ourselves in so many areas of our life, be it weight loss, continuing our education, or changing our spending habits. We set our own limitations and create our own failures with our attitude, and the words we choose to express how we feel.

For many, many years, I told myself that I just wasn’t a very crafty person. Oh, I could write well, play the guitar, sing a lovely song with the best of them, etc. But I had no talent to do handcrafts or artistic things. My creative spirit was stifled by my self-imposed limitations.

When I decided to learn quilting, I struggled against that inner critic that kept saying, “You don’t have talent for artistic projects.” I can’t tell you how many times I cried and thought, “Oh, what’s the use? I’ll never be any good at this!” Then one day, it dawned on me that it doesn’t matter whether I’m good at something or not. What matters is that I enjoy the process - and I sure do.

A creative, artsy person was born! Now I look through craft magazines and know I can create any project I see, given enough time and patience. I likely won't win any prizes, and I just don't care. I'm doing something I told myself I could never do, and that's what matters to me.


Throughout this past decade, I’ve learned that how we think about our life determines how happy we’re going to be living it. If you’re struggling to make changes in your life, take an honest look at your attitude toward the change your seek. Become aware of those subtle ways you tell yourself, “I can’t” -- and change them into the much more powerful phrase, “I CAN!”


Until next time…

25 comments:

debbyweighsin said...

Pattie, what a good post. I so agree with you. Am constantly frustrated in my crafty world by people who say I can't, I have no imagination, etc. Its just not true. And like you realized, it is the process that is so very enjoyable.

I'm a quilter like you, but am also a spinner/knitter/dyer, rug hooker, etc!

wonderwoman said...

i'm with you - you are only limited by your own negativity! i'm self taught at quilting, and its never perfect but i love doing it and thats what counts!

xx

Wendy said...

YES! I loved this post. Attitude is *everything*. I CAN or I WILL has gotten me through some tough times. CAN got me to where I am now, weight-wise, and it's totally empowering. I feel like I do anything hard at this point. Which is a great way to feel at this "bend in the road" time in my life!

I don't think people realize their own incredible, beautiful potential, most times.

RunningNan said...

Even if you replace I can't with I'll try... It works! Great post!

jovaliquilts said...

Good point. I have to keep giving myself pep talks that I can do creative things.

Susie said...

Hi Pattie,
Your posts always inspire me, but this one truly spoke to me as I always say I'm not crafty at all.
I do give myself "pats on the back" for the things I'm good at, but just sort of accepted that there were things that I needn't bother with..
I'm going to rethink that. After all, it's a brand new year for me, starting today! Thanks for the little push and the birthday wishes!
xo

grammy said...

I so agree! It is so hard to be around people that only see the glass as half empty. A year ago I thought I wpold never learn how to blog. I am still learning, but here I am!!! I always love the projects you show us (o:

Betty said...

This is a terrific quote! Can I use it in my blog? I love your attitude!

Midlife Mom said...

Very well put Patti! I need to print this off and tape it to my refrigerator! With Mom in the nursing home I have been stress eating like there is no tomorrow. I need to change my attitude about this whole situation! Thanks for the reminder!

Coleen said...

Thanks for the post. I keep telling myself that I can master my longarm and guess what? It's working.

Kathy said...

You are so right! I always try to think of my projects as something I accomplish just one stitch at a time.

Hanlie said...

You are always such an inspiration to me! Right now I CAN go for a walk!

Needled Mom said...

I can...I can...Ican!!!!!! Wasn't it the Little Engine that said...."I think I can, I think I can?" Great post, Pattie, and so very true!

Cammy said...

Such a great post, Pattie! So much of our success occurs when we figure out what we CAN do (and then do it) rather than focus on the Can'ts. When I first started working out, it was tough to accept that I couldn't do some of the things I was trying to do, but by focusing on how many (or how long) I *could* do some of the exercises, I was able to stay focused. Also acknowledging that I *would* be able to do more in the future, energized me.

Kathy said...

What a great post! I have read the book "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne. Part of her book is about this very thing you talk about in your post. It really opened up my eyes as to how I was looking at things.
Thanks for sharing this with us.

JC said...

I posted on Can't a few posts back from an article written by Linda Spangle in the 100 Days of Weight Loss book. As your site say's "Attitude Changes Everything" Have a great weekend.

Deborah said...

Wonderful post. Thanks so much for the positive attitude you always have. I CAN is going to be my new 4 letter word (phrase).

Sherry Martschink said...

This is SO true. Or, as a sign my mom used to have in her office said: UGOTTAWANNA.

nmburleson said...

What a great post. It's very important to realize the power of words and as you pointed out it's not just about weight loss. :)

Manuela said...

I think I've commented on it before but, it's always so much easier to say I can't even when you haven't tried! I was that way about running :)

I definitely want to instil that kind of attitude on my students when I get that job (notice I didn't say "if"!)

Another wonderfully motivating post. Thank you!

em's scrapbag said...

Fabulous post. A real pep talk. Thanks!!

Mississippi Songbird said...

Great post! Thanks for the info and sharing.. Great advice!

new*me said...

so true Pattie!!! I really think the physical aspect of losing is easy....it's the mental side that can spin us in a different direction. Attitude is everything! It really does affect every little corner of our lives :) Thanks for the awesome post and reminder!

carla said...

from your post to your iconpicture (thats not the right word. I dont know the right word.) you are SO positive and always brighten my day (your smile in that picture is infectious)

great post and Im one who DOES say I CANT ____ I SUCKETH AT ____ when it comes to crafting :)

Miz.

Kelli said...

You are such an encouragment, Patti! I hope you are having a blessed week!
~Kelli