I can. You can. We can.

Continuing the theme from the last post, that our thoughts can effect changes in our physical and emotional being, I propose the following assertion:

*We all possess the potential to succeed in any endeavour.*

My statement is unequivocal. I can. You can. We can. In anything. In everything. 

Put your mind to something, dedicate to it the time, energy, and effort that the challenge requires, and you can succeed.

With this statement, I put to rest any notion of pre-destination. It seems nonsensical to me to approach an issue with the belief that success is impossible; to dismiss a dream that inspires you on the basis of a feeling that you can’t or won’t achieve it; to not start something that might be life-altering, simply because you pretend to know what the outcome will be.

I can. You can. We can.

The main reason why we believe there to be limitations on actions we have not yet done is a result of our past experiences. For some unfortunate reason, we act as though what we did or did not accomplish in the past is somehow an indicator of what we can or cannot accomplish in the present or the future. Consider that this is flawed thinking that, most often, has a negative, limiting effect on our lives.

A bigger question that one might ask is whether our last failure was a result of imperfect action or whether it, too, was a result of negative, limiting thought stemming from an even previous past experience. Once again, the chicken vs. egg question shows up. The answer, I suggest, is “it doesn’t matter now.”

If we leave the past where it belongs, in the past, then we are free to choose our next actions and ways of being going forward in a powerful way. As past experiences go, I invite everyone to put them through a proverbial strainer: keep the lessons from the past that empower you, and let everything else seep through and drain away.

Now all we have to do is adopt a way of thinking that is positive and empowering at every turn. With commitment and practice, this admittedly tough transformation becomes easier and easier with each passing day until it becomes your new habit, inifinitely more desirable and inspiring than the negative, past-based habit that most of us have unconsciously developed over the years.

There is a vast number of relevant, relatable examples that all feature the same general path of conception to result. Someone who runs a marathon was not innately able to accomplish such a feat; they first dreamt up the challenge (or it was presented to them), then they committed to achieving it, which likely required managing negative thoughts that entered the process. Then, they began training, physically and mentally, for the challenge, and only then did they actually attempt it and possibly accomplish it – and perhaps not on the first attempt.

The same could be said for anyone who is working in a career they dreamed about, built or invented something from a simple conceived idea, took on any responsibility, willingly, or most other new experiences or achievements that are chosen freely.

To be fair, I do allow for logical, real restrictions not based on unreal feelings or beliefs that may stem from past experiences. For example, I don’t claim that a person with no arms could become a professional basketball player, or that a blind person can be an airplane pilot. I will address “learning disabilities” and other such issues in a future blog. (Stay tuned, it’ll be a doozy, I promise.)

However, having knee pain or back problems, for example, does not preclude you from being able to complete a triathlon with the right work, life changes, preparation and attitude. It is merely an excuse that limits progress and discovery as long as the excuse is allowed to live and breathe. Like thoughts, feelings, interpretations, etc… excuses are created by an individual as a response to something and, being man-made, they can also be man-destroyed. As many of us know, the longer we have lived with excuses and believed them to be true, the more they have been fed, so to speak, and therefore they require more work to dismantle. Nonetheless, we can dismantle them.

I have a list of 13 “alarm words”. They are words that tend to be used to create unhelpful value judgments (8 of the 13) and the rest are words that tend to be used as excuses, mistaken for truth, or just plain negative. I am happy to share the full list with anyone who wants to take on a big challenge, that is, to ensure that these words are only used in factual, empowering and positive ways. 

In the spirit of *can*, I challenge each and every one of you to eliminate only one of these words from your vocabulary: “cannot” (okay, its contraction “can’t” too).

Who is going to take on this challenge? A simple “I will take on the challenge” in the comments below will acknowledge your commitment.

There might be difficult times, some much more so than others, but I am sure that those who make 2011 a year of *CAN* will find subsequent years’ work much, much, easier. I am convinced, by my past experiences and those of others who have taken on this challenge, that the benefits will far outweigh the costs, which are further reduced if you see this challenge as an opportunity instead of a burden or an imposition. We CAN do that too.

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