That Will Never Work

Have you ever heard those words? I certainly have and I’ve heard them many times in countless meetings.

I’ve heard this idea will never work, I’ve heard that idea will never work, I’ve heard we tried that before, I’ve heard every variation of it’s just not going to work.

It’s amazing, just how many people know something won’t work. But I wonder how they know it won’t work? And if they know it won’t work then they must know how it will work. But they never seem to suggest how it will work, they just say it won’t work.

That’s a negative attitude. That’s a can’t work attitude. That’s a I’m not going to succeed mindset. That’s a I don’t get much done mindset. That is most certainly not the mindset of successful people.

I’ve heard it said that success comes in cans and failure comes in can’ts.

As you go through this week check yourself, check your words and check your attitude. See how many times you say can’t vs how many times you say can. When you hear an idea that you think won’t work don’t say it can’t work, say it CAN work if we  _________.

Don’t allow yourself to say something won’t work unless you’re willing to say how it will work. If you don’t know how to make something work then don’t say that it can’t. Maybe you should consider holding on to the negative thought until you can back it up with something positive.

When you continuously say that ideas won’t work, without saying how they can work, people may begin to think that you have a negative attitude. They may just be right!

Think about it…


4 thoughts on “That Will Never Work

  1. Beautiful and wise post, Steve. I agree with you that those words are poison to creative ideas. So often, the REAL message is, “I don’t want that idea to work,” or “I don’t want to do that.” It is as much a lack of energy as a lack of imagination. And I’ve never wanted to spend much time around people with that mindset. Your suggestion to state how something could work is a very good one. Building on one another’s ideas to help them evolve into something which can be implemented successfully is the path towards success in any partnership or enterprise. Thank you again, Steve, WG

    1. Thanks for your comment. I think you’re absolutely right in that in many cases it isn’t really “can’t” it’s “won’t”. All too often people who really can just choose to let someone else carry the load. It’s the difference between success and something far less rewarding than success.

  2. I’m a fan of executive coach Marshall Goldsmith.

    In his book “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There,” he talks about eliminating three words from your vocabulary. They are No, But, and However.

    Think about it. When you’re in a convo with someone, and you reply with any three of those words, you’re basically telling the other person you disagree with them. How do you think the other person feels?

    Words are powerful. We need to be cognizant of what we say.

    1. Yep, kinda like…”I might your wife, she sure seems nice but….

      Everything said before “but” just went away, like it was never said. It’s a word that adds nothing to a conversation, it only subtracts from it. And however is just a nicer but…

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