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Day #24

Small word…Big impact
As I was taking my morning walk and thinking about a topic for today a single word came to mind. It’s a small, four letter word that, the more I thought about it I saw what a profound impact it has on us…The word is Can’t. Think about your own life for a moment and all the times you said to yourself “I can’t do that or that can’t work.” When we use that word we’re actually setting ourselves up for failure. I can recall many, many times talking myself out of trying something because I felt I couldn’t do it.
Growing up in Upstate NY during the Summer I went to a local camp. One of our weekly outings was to Prospect Park Swimming Pool. They had a learn to swim program there and for graduation you had to swim across the deep end of the pool. I can recall the sense of terror I had when it was my turn in line, even though I’d done it many times before… The nagging thought that I can’t do this was paralyzing me with fear. Eventually, I dove in and made my way to the other side splashing and sputtering. I thought I couldn’t do it and almost gave up but in the end succeed.
When we’re first born, can’t doesn’t exist yet. We’re open to any possibilities. The act of learning to walk is a good case in point. The very nature of physics is working against us when we stand and walk upright. If the concept of can’t existed in our brains as babies we’d never take that first step! As we age, we put limitations on ourselves and justify them by saying we can’t do something. When I was a younger man I did many things that I now say I can’t do. Of course, as we age there are certain restrictions that our bodies impose on us, but how much of that is physical and how much is giving in to that little word?
Parkinson’s gives you a whole new set of circumstances where saying “I can’t” is often the response. Everything from social engagements to exercise to eating healthy can be dismissed by using the words I can’t… It can become a very destructive habit that’s self perpetuating and can hasten disease progression…if you let it.
Here’s an experiment to try. See if you can go a full 24 hours without once using the word can’t. If you do, keep track of how many times you say it and under what circumstances. Think of other phrases that may convey the same emotions such as “I don’t feel like it” or “I’d rather not” instead of I can’t… That tiny little word hits hard in our psyche and eliminating it is a big step in having a happy and fulfilling life… You CAN do it!
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