What does it really means if someone tells he can’t do something ? This is surely the popular excurse of my eldest child. It is very easy to say you can’t do something and it makes it hard to reply something if we assume the claim is true. If I can’t speak French it makes little sense to speak French to me I will not understand… I know this because I tried. To often however I can’t means something entirely different – it means either I do not want to or I believe I can’t do it.
The “Can’t” which is really “I do not want” is the hard one because there is a question of how much hardship (either physical or emotional) the person can take and which really depends how important something is. For example if you ask me if I can jump from the 3rd floor – I probably can’t do it just for fun. I may break my leg doing so or worse, though in case of fire I would jump because alternative or being burned alive is even worse. What people can and can’t in the casual life depend a lot on their self discipline and hardship they are ready to take to reach the end goal.
Taking it to extreme if you’re saying you can’t do something you should ask yourself what if your life or life of your loved ones would depend on you doing this ? If you would do it in case of extreme crisis it is not “can’t” it is rather you do not want it for some reason. The reason can be quite valid one – I can jump from the 3rd floor but this will most likely result in the broken leg so I do not want to do it unless absolutely required. There are things which I can’t do, such as flying. Even if my life would depend on flying I would not be able to do it.
Assumed “Can’t” is another story. Too often we do not believe in our ability to do something, refuse to try, refuse to learn or accept general preception in the world about something being impossible. I remember as a child I could not ride a bike and I was afraid to try until I was forced by my Mom to try hard enough to finally learn. “Can’t” turned to “Can” in a single day. Many things take much more time and energy to learn and same as in previous case it becomes a question of how much time and energy are you willing to make things possible.
I do not speak French but I can learn to speak it. I just do not want it because there is a lot of time and effort required but the benefit for me is marginal. I currently probably could not run a marathon but I could spend time to train but it is just not something I want to do. Time and energy are scarse and we all have to do our picks.
Note in this case we know people in our age and physical conditions do learn French or train for Marathon, however even if there would not be it is not enough to say it is impossible – many things from running 100 meters in less than 10 seconds to swimming cross English Channel (La Manche) There are people who dare to try and make things happen. Do not say you can’t unless you can prove it is physically impossible.
There are very few real “I Can’t” in this world the rest are “I do not want to”