“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, either way you’re right”
– Henry Ford
One of Sam Berns‘ tips for a happy life was ‘turn your can’t do’s into can do’s’.
What do you often say ‘I can’t do that’ about?
Our limiting beliefs are most often caused by programming when we were younger. Of course there are many things you can do that you think or say you can’t. If it’s been done by someone else, then it is possible; anybody has the potential. It is just a question of learning, focus and practising.
Even if it hasn’t been done yet, it doesn’t mean it can’t be done. The world has only ever progressed because of the great people in history who had a vision and overcame immense criticism to show that they COULD do it. What would our world be like if the Wright Brothers had listened to and believed the naysayers that said it was impossible for us to fly in a machine?
I often wanted to be able to. I admired many of the great artists and the many people around me who could produce beautiful, unique works of art.
A while ago, I was shopping and bought my young niece some colouring pencils. I felt the urge to buy some to keep at my house for when she came to visit. I often saw them on the shelf and thought ‘I’d love to be able to draw’.
When I was at school, one year I got an A in Art. The following year, I had a different teacher and only got a D. Obviously my confidence was knocked, and I chose to think the thought I was no good at Art. I spent the next 30 years reinforcing that thought until it became the belief ‘I can’t draw’.
“If you can’t you must, and if you must you can.”
– Anthony Robbins
So, over the next few months, my eyes kept landing on these coloured pencils and I thought ‘someday I’m going to learn to draw’, until the someday arrived when I was drawn to a picture on a notebook and I thought ‘I must have a go at drawing that’.
So I did just that. After 30 years of never picking up a pencil to draw, I had a go, despite realising I didn’t have an eraser or a pencil sharpener. I could have let that become a reason to stop me having a go, but I chose to have a go anyway. The result was the picture at the top right of this page.
It actually turned out OK. So then I thought ‘Well I’ve always said I can’t even draw a cat, so let’s have a go at that’. I got onto Google Images and searched for pictures of cats. As you can see from the next picture, I can now draw a cat. I couldn’t draw a stick man, so I found pictures of people, yes ok cartoon ones, but still figures of people, just so I couldn’t say that any more.
Then I set myself my biggest challenge. It’s all very well drawing cartoons, as even if they don’t turn out exactly the same as the picture I’m drawing, I could still get away with it looking like a character. But how would I do with drawing a picture of a real person, and could I get it to actually look like the person it’s meant to be?
So to the right here is the result of that. Can you tell who it is? Please comment.
I was pleased that most of my friends could tell who it was immediately.
I can no longer say that I can’t draw, because I CAN draw!
OK they are not going to win any awards, or sell in any galleries, but they are a first step in changing a belief. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Another thing we say is that we need to wait until other circumstances are right for us to try things. If I had waited until I had an eraser and pencil sharpener before I started, I still might be saying ‘I can’t draw’. The fact that I didn’t have an eraser made me all the more focused on getting it right the first time.
Most of all, I really enjoyed my time drawing these. Doing something that really absorbs your concentration can take your mind off other niggling little everyday stresses.
So examine the things about which you say ‘I can’t do that’ and do something to overcome that belief so you can say ‘I CAN do that!’. When you develop your CAN DO attitude, your confidence will grow in many other areas of your life.
Would you like to be able to play the guitar, swim, sing, write or dance? Just have a go, devote a bit of time and focus to it.
What does the phrase ‘I can’t do that’ stop you enjoying in your life?