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CAN the CAN’T

, September 21, 2012, 3 Comments

This article continues from Part One…

Last week, we discussed the hare and tortoise race from Aesop’s fable. The tortoise overtook the hare because it told itself ‘I CAN’. This week we discuss ‘CAN’ the CAN’T…. So, what does CAN the CAN’T mean?I offer several interpretations. Well, the phrase simply means shifting our thinking and language to something more positive. We open our life to immense possibilities by simply eliminating the T from the word CAN’T. Here, CAN is used with reference to our personal goals and achievements. “I CAN learn a foreign language, two words at a time!”

All of us have moments(in the past or present) when our parents or some friends or relatives vehemently tell us that we possibly CAN’T. “Are you silly, you can never or CAN’T (write a book), don’t try it”… – you can replace words in brackets with your situation and you know what I’m talking about! And, at that very moment you could tell yourself “I CAN do this, I am going to try this, it will make me happy,” and start by doing whatever it is that you want to do, take baby steps and before you know it, you have won, it’s all done!So, now we are behaving the ‘I CAN’ way!Can means to axe or eliminate when used informally. So go ahead, knock out the word CAN’T from your vocabulary, just do it, “CAN” it. The more times you think I CAN, the more times you will behave like the CAN’T does not exist for you… remember you have learnt to CAN the CAN’T!‘Can’ also means a tin, bucket or a canister, so may be you should go ahead and put CAN’T into the CAN.

We discussed using more of the idea CAN but you have to be judicious about using the word. Sometimes saying I CAN could be mere foolishness or reckless behaviour. Like everything else, you need to choose the right moments to use I CAN, because false bravado doesn’t get you anywhere!
At work if you say “ok  I CAN” every time a colleague asks you to help when you have a number of other things that you are working on, you have to say I CAN’T. But how do you do this politely?… without hurting feelings or sounding like you are running away from the extra work?!As I was writing this article I realized that the phrase “no can do” is appropriate in this situation. No is negative and can do is positive and this oxymoronis a humorous phrase that can be often used to politely refuse someone or when we refuse to do something. So you can say“no CAN do mate, I have a lot on my plate” or when the inner voice whispers ‘you should eat one more piece of cake?’ say NO CAN DO…

To sum up:-
• Use CAN when a CAN’T stands in the way of achievement
• Eliminate CAN’T totally from behaviour
• Use more of ‘no CAN do’ when the situation demands it… though sometimes you can eat cake!






About author
Aarti Iyer is a Sydneysider who originally hails from Mumbai, India. She has a Masters Degree in Human Resources Management from the University of Sydney,speaks fluent French and is currently working towards her doctorate in Leadership. She is passionate about writing and author of the book “The Story of a Girl, 60Seconds That Changed Life." Her family gives meaning to her life and when not writing or studying; she enjoys travelling and spending time with her husband and young daughter. Aarti shares her experiences in her weblog FlyingBubbles. ...more

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