10 Alternative Meanings to “I Can’t”

“I can’t.”

Those two words are so easy to say.  The words manage to hide so many meanings behind them.  What does “I can’t” really mean?

  1. “I’m Scared” – Moving out of your comfort zone is hard. So hard that you don’t want to do it. That’s fear talking.
  2. “I Haven’t Focused On the Right Thing” – You try, but you reach a dead end. Another direction will provide another result. When you’re in a maze and find that path blocked, you need to head back. You don’t give up with an “I can’t” because you need to find the exit.  Find another way. Seek out new paths.
  3. “I Haven’t Considered Things Properly” – Before you can take solid action, you need the right information and the right tools at your disposal. Crack on with the research.
  4. “It Doesn’t Fit With My Lifestyle” – You probably *can* do something, but not under the current circumstances. Do you change what you’re doing, or do you choose to let go?
  5. “I’m Not In Control” – Take hold of responsibility if you can. Otherwise, accept that external issues are getting in the way. Your personal limitations needn’t be a factor. You either can do it or you don’t have access to that path. That’s very different to “I can’t”.
  6. “I Won’t” – Too much bother? That’s your choice. Here lies a big difference between “can’t” and “won’t”.  Time to motivate yourself so it’s worth the bother.
  7. “I Don’t Like Change” – Similar to being scared, change brings down the defenses and lets the comfort zone take over. The unknown stops you from making convincing moves, but you do have the ability to forge forward.  Once you do, you just need to maintain the momentum.
  8. “There’s Not Enough Support” – You can’t work alone and expect to achieve everything with no external help. Sometimes all you need to do is ask. Support is available for most things. However, you have to seek it out. It’s rare for support to offer itself!
  9. “I’m Busy” – Are you willing to make the time by changing your priorities? Whatever is most important to you is deserving of more time. Most people have a choice and can find the time. Watch less TV, be less available, get up earlier, drop your least interesting society, work on fewer personal projects, etc., etc.
  10. “I Don’t Have a Plan” – Ambitions and long-term projects need some sort of plan. They don’t need to be overly detailed, they don’t have to be strict or time-limited, they don’t require insane amounts of complicated strategy on your part. What they do require, however, is an idea of why you want it and how you intend to move toward that goal. It’s fine to say “I want to walk away with a First class degree”, but you must recognise the work you have to put in to achieve that. A goal without a plan is just a dream.
Photo credit: Haleyface (some rights reserved)


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