Can if … or can’t because!

can if graphic

Images courtesy of Master isolated images at

If you are thinking “can’t because” about something, why not have a go at rephrasing it as “can if”. This may look like we are simply playing with words but we are not. It can make a huge difference to how you think about the matter in hand.

To illustrate:

say “can’t because” and you may have a list of reasons, issues and even, maybe, excuses.


  • change “can’t” to “can”
  • change “because” to “if”

say “can if” and you may emerge with a list of things to do, conditions to fulfill to achieve what you want.

Do you notice that “can’t because” items feel like blockers (reasons to not do, problems) and that “can if” items feel like puzzles to solve?

separatorI feel like I’m being blocked, thwarted when I say “can’t because”. I hate being thwarted.

I get thoughtful when I say “can if”. My brain goes into puzzle solving mode. I enjoy solving puzzles.

To get from feeling blocked to having puzzles to solve, I need to shift my thinking. I can’t just ignore the list of “can’t because” items. They matter to me, obviously – I wouldn’t have allowed them to stop me doing something if they weren’t important, would I? I have to acknowledge and work with/around them somehow – which is where the “can if” items come in.

The “can if” items are where I can express the things to do, the conditions to be fulfilled for it to become achievable. I am not ignoring the blockers that cause me to think “can’t because”.

Of course, I may still wish to not do whatever it is, and that’s ok. What I will have is a clearer insight into what possibilities may exist should I wish to move forward.

I have been “can if”-ing for so long now, it is almost automatic. If I hear the word “can’t” it triggers the “aaah, but can if” thinking.

If you want to find a way forward with a “can’t because” thing, why not give this a go?  It may be a way to shift your thinking.

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