There is an interesting difference between people who accomplish what they want and those who don’t. The ones who don’t seem to continually put themselves in a box. What I mean by that is that when I start working with a person and suggest a new idea to them, or even if they come up with a new idea on their own, the new suggestion is often followed by the dreaded “list”. The “list” is all the reasons why their new idea won’t work. It starts with something like “Well, yeah, that would be great”, and ends with “BUT .. . .
- I’m too old to start anything new
- That just doesn’t work in today’s economy
- I just don’t have the time for something like that
- It’s not in my makeup to have that
- I don’t have the education/credentials
- I don’t have the money
- I don’t have any support from my family
- etc etc etc
The list could go on forever, I think I’ve heard a million reasons ‘why I can’t’. As that person starts verbalizing their list, usually with a lot of thought involved –and what to them seems a very intelligent and objective way of viewing things– they are really just creating a mental box to climb in. They usually shut the lid with a comment like, “I guess it’s just not meant to be.” There, they can stay in their comfort zone – their comfortably miserable zone – where they just keep living life the same way and wishing it were different.
My response to that type of person is always “Those are all logical reasons why you can’t do that. Are there any reasons why you CAN?” They usually come up with a few. I say “Good. Those are the ones you need to focus on. Let go of the rest and move forward.” When they do, they climb out of that box start sitting on what seems more like a cloud – with a much better perspective and real potential.
Obviously, every new idea, goal, or dream, is always surrounded by two lists – reasons why it won’t work and reasons why it will. Both lists exist at the same time. The question is always “Which list am I going to pay attention to?”, which should be immediately followed by “Is this the right thing for me to do, and in line with what will serve me and others well?” The answer to the second creates the answer for the first.
The greatest inventions of all time happened because the inventors paid attention to the right list. It certainly wasn’t that the one that proved “this won’t work” didn’t exist. Of course it did. But they eventually realized success because they continued focusing on how it could work.
It applies to any dream or goal that you have, in any area of your life. If you have a dream of becoming more healthy and in shape, of course it would be a great thing for you to do and would help you in all other areas of life. But, if as soon as you recognize it as something you want, you follow it with, “I’ll never be able to get where I really want to be, it’s not in my genes. I have arthritis so I can’t jog. I have a busy schedule so I don’t know where to fit in the workouts. And I HATE dieting. I know I naturally have a slow metabolism so it will be an uphill battle. . . ” Stop. You are making the wrong list. Yes, some of those things may be true, but all you are doing is beginning your journey by putting limitations, and very strong ones, on your outcome. Who wants to begin by limiting their own ability to succeed??
Instead, create a list of reasons why you SHOULD become healthier,
- It will take pressure off my joints and relieve some of my pain.
- I’ll be much less likely to develop diabetes.
- I’ll be happier with myself.
- I’ll set a good example for my children.
- I’ll be able to enjoy life more fully. . .
And follow it with reasons why you CAN live healthier,
- I do get breaks at work. I could spend that time taking a brisk walk.
- I love to cook. I can make a game out of finding healthy recipes that actually taste good.
- I know can start drinking more water if I just buy some flavor packs . . .
Then, throw away the first list (your box), and pay attention to the last two (your cloud), even if they are short. Keep them where you can see them– taped to the mirror you look at every morning. They are the only ones that matter, and you will continue to build on them as you go.
So try it. If there is something in your life that you are not pursuing but should, make your lists. Toss the ‘why I can’t’. Broadcast to yourself each day for 3 weeks the ‘why I should’ and ‘why I can’. Be amazed at what happens next.