The power of potential


The four letter word that kills

We all know that just as there are words that lift us up and captivate us, there are words that can hurt and degrade us. But did you know that there is a four letter word that really kills?

No, it’s not that four-letter word, it’s the word “can’t.” The word “can’t” kills dreams, hopes, aspirations, opportunities, love, and the list goes on. The “I can’t” puts an end, a stop, an immediate end to all effort, to all forward movement. “I can not do this”. “I can not go there”. “I can’t attract a mate/make friends.” “I can’t get a job/promotion/raise/better position.” “I can’t act/sing/dance/run/play the guitar.” You fill in the blank. We all have or have had “you can’t” in our lives, always to our detriment.

What would have happened to Jennifer Bricker if she had accepted the word “can’t”? At 11 years old, she Jennifer placed fourth in gymnastics at the AAU Youth Olympic Games and, at 22, she was one of the featured performers on the “Britney Spears’ Circus Tour.” Before you shake your head and say, “What’s the deal with that?” let me add that Jennifer was born without legs. You read that correctly. No legacy. Zipper. No. Jennifer became an award-winning gymnast using her glutes, hips, and arms. She also played high school baseball and basketball without the benefit of prosthetics or a wheelchair, and was Illinois’ first all-state high school disabled tumbling champion.

What led to these remarkable feats? Foster parents who just wouldn’t let Jennifer use the word “can’t.” Ever. North did. Jennifer’s adoptive parents supported and encouraged her in whatever she decided to undertake. Her mantra, learned early on, was “I can.”

Try it. Eliminate the word “can’t” from your vocabulary and see what happens. You can substitute the word “no” or the phrase “I don’t want”. Both “no” and “don’t want to” imply that you have made a conscious decision on the matter. Which is a matter of personal preference, not an impossibility in fact. Which opens up all sorts of new possibilities. If you say, for example, “I won’t get a job/promotion/raise/better position,” the question invariably arises, “Well, why not?” Which now forces you to take a closer look at why you think you won’t, whatever it is. Which can more easily lead to the reasons you might get the job/promotion/raise/better position.

Don’t kill your dreams. You deserve more than that. Remove the killer word “I can’t” from your mind and heart, and watch your life soar with the power of “I can!”


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