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One of the most frustrating things I can hear from a student in class is “I can’t…”

I hear it again and again, from the youngest children to the most mature adults, and often in a situation when they really, actually, can.

It puts an immediate stop to the mental process. There will be no more attempts. There will be no problem solving. It’s just, “I can’t.”

It’s also, “I won’t.” Because you won’t.

“Can’t”s and “won’t”s are insidious – they conceal themselves within your reasons for not doing something. Sometimes they’re very hard to spot, because the actual word isn’t there. They’re a state of mind, a reaction to coming out of your comfort zone. They’re there every time you dismiss something without much thought. I don’t feel comfortable about it. It’s not going to happen.

Far better to say, “How can I…?”

This already assumes success. It starts a problem solving process. It asks for help from someone who knows how to do it. It keeps a mind active.

Because, really, you can.

If you’re stuck for a New Year’s Resolution for 2016, maybe you should consider this one. Or maybe you can’t. Or won’t.

It’s a hard one to change, but each time a “can’t” or “won’t” rears its ugly head, stop yourself, and ask how you can.

Even if it’s impossible, ask yourself how you could do it. The creativity will do you good, and you never know, maybe you will be the one to take the human race a step further.