Consider This

Robert Stevenson’s Thoughts on the Pursuit of Excellence

I CAN’T – Really?

July 9, 2018

by Robert Stevenson

CAN’T, is a harmful, destroying, and decisive phrase. To me, the finality of the phrase is scary. The moment you say it, you are giving up, surrendering, quitting, resigning to the fact that you can go no further, do no more, or finish. We all need to FEAR the phrase because the moment we accept one “I CAN’T” … we are opening the door to allow more.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a fascinating way to look at the word CAN’T. He said, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” There are going to be people who tell you that you can’t do it; you are not smart enough, talented enough, good enough, dedicated enough, to do it. Here’s an interesting thought: The ones who say you can’t … are probably the ones who are scared you will. What a travesty it would be to limit yourself by listening to what someone else says you can’t do … but it happens every day.

Sure, there are things that you can’t do anything about … so you ADAPT.
You can’t stop the waves, but you can you learn to surf.
You can’t stop the wind, but you can adjust your sails.
You can’t stop aging, but your attitude doesn’t have to get old.
You can’t please everyone, so start by pleasing someone.
Money can’t buy happiness, but neither can poverty.

(1) I can’t do it. (2) I can’t win. (3) I can’t change. (4) I can’t figure it out. (5) I can’t master the skill. Those five statements get their destructive power from one letter; “T”. CAN’T vs CAN. One letter is the difference between success and failure. If you cut the “T” off the end of the word … YOU WIN. Cut the “T” off and put it to work for you. Give it a new meaning and purpose. That “T” needs to stand for tenacious, talented, thorough, tireless and tough. If we are tenacious in our effort, talented and skilled, thorough in our methods, tireless in our endeavor, and have a tough, determined attitude … we won’t ever have the need for the word CAN’T.

I can’t do it. Maybe you can’t do it that way, so try another way. I can’t win. Change that phrase to, I didn’t win today … but I’ll be back (better prepared the next time). I can’t change. Really? Anyone can change if they want to. I can’t figure it out. Sure, you can. You may have to start all over and look at it from a different perspective, and you might have to try 10,000 times as Edison did when inventing the light bulb. But as he said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” He learned from every experiment. I can’t master the skill. Sure, you can. If you truly want to master the skill then you will put in the necessary time, effort, and practice to do so.

Henry Ford once said: “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.” SO, clear your mind of the word CAN’T. You don’t need the word. As Dr. King said … “Keep moving forward.”

"Your only true security in life
is your ability to perform."

About the Author

Robert Stevenson is an expert at building a high-performance business culture, improving efficiency, and accelerating growth. He is one of the most widely sought-after speakers in the world today, as well as a best-selling author. He has owned five companies, sold internationally in over 20 countries. Robert has spoken to over 2,500 companies throughout the world and his research in the area of corporate and entrepreneurial success is extensive. Over 2 million people have benefitted from his powerful, practical, and thought-provoking programs. He is a true master at blending facts, inspiration, conviction, and humor into all his programs.

Companies like FedEx, Prudential, Lockheed Martin, Anheuser-Busch, Chevron, American Express, and Berkshire Hathaway continue to rely on him for a fresh, unique perspective on businesses’ most crucial issues. To learn more about Robert and what he can do for your team visit his website at

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