How many times a day do you tell yourself you can’t do something?  I bet if you stopped and counted you’d be very surprised. For me I can’t is an auto response.  Someone may ask me to do something simple like, can you call this client and follow up or I think about something I want for my life and my auto response kicks in… I CAN’T DO THAT!

I have tricked myself into believing that I have recovered from my cant’aholism (my addiction to saying I can’t).  Yet when I really think about it, I’m still addicted, AND my addiction is driven by staying in a place of comfort- it’s just my go to response.  The one thing I can say about my addiction is that I have shared this with all the important people in my life, so the majority of the time I don’t get to get away with my I can’t habit.  And man do I get triggered when I get called out on it.  Luckily I have kept myself in a structure that really doesn’t allow me to be bought off by my I Can’t brain.  

Why am I sharing all of this?  Because most of you out there also have an addiction to I can’t, you too have an I Can’t Brain.   And I want to share that it’s all just a lie that our brains tell us so we don’t have to risk anything.  It’s like when you’re single and you want to ask that hot person across the room for a coffee date and you tell yourself… “Are YOU crazy? You can’t ask that guy/girl out!  They may say no and that would be awful! You can’t do it! It’s not worth the rejection or embarrassment!  Stay safe! Don’t do it!”

Our brains have been developed over millions of years to keep us safe.  There’s a lot of science to prove that and I’m not going to get into here.  Just trust that it’s true. Now what do we need to do to interrupt our I Can’t Brain?   Here are 5 things you can do:

  1. Recognize that your brain is lying to you!  Question your I can’t auto-response, your status quo.  Is what you’re saying I can’t to really something you can’t do?  Most of the time our brains are amazing play writers creating scenarios that don’t exist, or are replaying an old movie from a memory of something that happened in the past and does not accurately predict what will happen now in this moment.
  2. Be willing!  Honestly I can’t is just a sign of your unwillingness to take action.  Really look to see what you CAN do. What CAN you say YES to? Be honest with yourself.  
  3. Be okay with failing, with not being perfect, with not knowing what’s going to happen if you take a risk.  This is my greatest weakness! I don’t want to fail. I’m uncomfortable, like really uncomfortable with failure because I get freakishly dramatic about it.   I tell myself all kinds of nasty things when I fail, I’m my worst enemy and the worst thing I do is nothing! And then the vicious cycle begins of: I do nothing, I feel bad about doing nothing, I berate myself and then do more of nothing!
  4. Be scared and do it anyway.  Seriously! JUST DO IT! (Nike is not crazy)
  5. Set yourself up with a structure that will kick your addiction in the you know what!  I have surrounded myself with people that NEVER let me get away with I can’t for long, they call me out and it’s not always nice!  I get triggered, I get mad and then I get into action and 9 times out of 10 I’m surprised at what I’m actually capable of when I look for what I can do and what I’m willing to do.

To my fellow I can’t addicts, I get you, I hear you, I see you, and I’m calling you out on your BS I can’t lying brain!  Now get off your butt, take an action and show yourself that you CAN do anything!

It’s my honour to serve you

Nina Ganguli