Sometimes when we say we can’t do something, what we’re really saying is we don’t want to do it. Now you’re getting to the heart of the matter. Why don’t you want to? Oftentimes we don’t even know why we don’t want to, we just don’t. That’s good, that’s a starting place. Dig deeper.
Can’t implies a limitation of some sort. If you really can’t because of a physical disability, that’s one thing. If you can’t because you lack training or knowledge, go get it. That’s a much easier fix. If you can’t because of a schedule conflict, identify your priorities.
Don’t Want to Sometimes Leads Back to Can’t
Sometimes “don’t want to” feeds back into can’t. Maybe you feel you can’t teach a class or lead a discussion group. If you ask yourself why you may uncover you don’t want to. When you ask yourself why you don’t want to, you might find it goes back to can’t. “I don’t want to teach a class (because I really can’t) because I lack the skills and knowledge.” Boom! Now you got to the core issue – you lack something. Read up, get more knowledge. Get trained in how to be a good public speaker, teacher or facilitator. You don’t even need to hire someone – Google is free.
Maybe your “don’t want to” goes back to a confidence issue, which can also tie into training. You don’t want to teach because you lack the confidence of getting up in front of a group of people. How do we get confidence? Training and practice. The more you practice applying the principles of public speaking that you learned, the more your confidence goes up. Then boom, that problem solved too.
Let’s try another example. At work, with friends or at home there are some troublesome people that you think are undermining you. You feel you can’t talk to them. Why? Because you really don’t want to. Why? Because you feel talking to them will do no good because they lack the awareness to meet you halfway. Or their consciousness is lower so they don’t understand or care that their behavior is hurtful to you.
In essence you “can’t” talk to them because it will do no good. I get it, been there, tried it, didn’t work. Trying to explain to an offensive person their behavior is offensive is futile. They don’t get it and don’t want to get it. So yes, you “can’t” talk to them because of their lack of awareness and willingness to change. And you don’t want to talk to them because you know there will probably be no resolution.
Re-Frame Your Can’t
Let’s re-frame that. We live on a free will planet so there’s always choice. When we say we “can’t” do something we feel cornered like we have no options. We always have options. Often, we don’t like our options so we say we have none. We do.
So, instead of saying you “can’t” talk to those people at work or at home, you can, but you’re choosing not to because you see where the conversation won’t go.
Doesn’t it feel lighter/better/freer to say you’re choosing not to vs you can’t?
It does to me.
If talking to people like that won’t do any good, then take that off the table. That’s a strategy that won’t work. What else can you do? That’s where your time is better spent exploring. Look for things that you can do, not the ones you can’t.
Start with Training and Practice
Let’s try another example. You’re a healer or have your own business of some sort. You feel like you can’t charge people or raise your prices because really you don’t want to. Why not? If it goes back to not feeling good enough, then get more practice or training. Practice helps us build our confidence because we see the fruits of our labor. The more people we help/heal/sell to the more evidence we have that we’re on the right track.
If you feel you can’t make enough money doing whatever it is you love to do, that’s a belief system to get past. It may also require some tangible steps such as solid business planning including marketing.
If you want to meet a guy but no one has showed up yet, why? You don’t want to be on dating sites. Why? If you feel there aren’t quality people on them, that’s a valid don’t want to. Don’t. If you want to meet a guy but you can’t seem to get out of the house, why? There may be a “don’t want to” under that. Keep digging.
Always Get Underneath the Can’t or Don’t Want To
The point of this story is sometimes your “can’t” leads to a “don’t want to.” Sometimes a “can’t” is really just a “can’t.” If it really is a “can’t” get underneath it and find out why. Then go down the list and start removing the objections one by one.
If it’s a “don’t want to” then get under that too. Maybe it’s time for a new path or course of action. We don’t have to do anything unless we want to. Not because it sounded good or someone suggested it. I’ve seen people try out a new profession because it sounded good only to realize they really don’t enjoy it. That was a “don’t want to” that when uncovered, turned into a new profession entirely with a more satisfying outcome.
At the end of the day you can do anything, but first you have to want it (which removes the “I don’t want to” objection), then you have to choose it.
What can you do?
What do you choose to do?