Tag Archives: positive thinking

Can if … or can’t because!

can if graphic

Images courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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.

The Power of Yet

The Power of Yet icon

Here we are talking about the word ‘yet’ in the sense of ‘up until now’ or ‘so far’.

If there is something that you have tried to achieve but have failed at and, maybe, even given up on, then I encourage you to give the ‘power of yet’ a try. Whatever you’re thinking that you can’t do, or have failed at, simply rephrase using the word ‘yet’ – and notice the difference in your  thinking.

To illustrate:

  • “I have failed my exam!” This sounds so final, over and done with. ‘Failed’ is such a harsh
    and mocking word.
  • “I haven’t passed my exam, yet.” It doesn’t change the fact that I failed the exam. Some may think that I am just playing with words – but I am not. Using the word ‘yet’ makes a real difference to how I feel about it and what I will do about it.

The power of the little word “yet” should not be underestimated! Using the word ‘yet’:

  • kicks your brain in to a puzzle solving mode. Your thinking can go something like “Well, I may not have succeeded so far, so what else do I need to do to achieve it in the future?
  • leaves the door open to future possibilities
  • creates greater persistence
  • encourages a growth mindset so that you may find a way to succeed
  • provides a positive context  for you to engage with the matter in hand

separatorI have been taking advantage of the power of ‘yet’ for a long time now. Whenever I come up against something that I think (maybe even believe) that I can’t do, big or small, profound or trivial, I simply add the word “yet” to the end of the statement. To illustrate:

  • “I can’t do that dance!” Sounds final, doesn’t it?
  • “I can’t do that dance, yet.” My expectation moves towards the possibility that someday, one day, I may be able to do it. What do you reckon?

Why not try out a bit of ‘The Power of Yet’ for yourself. I hope it works for you as powerfully as it works for me.

You may be interested in taking a look at a brief TED talk – Carol Dweck: The power of believing that you can improve  that talks about the growth mindset and includes a powerful illustration of the power of yet.