I Can and You Can Too

Few things in life give me as much pleasure as doing something someone says I can’t do. Now, I’m not talking about breaking rules although I have been known to improve a few rules by doing something outside the guidelines. What I’m talking about is doing something that someone says I don’t have the ability, knowledge, or tenacity to do.

When someone says I can’t my first thought is I can if I decide I can. You can too!

The very first step in the journey to success is deciding that you will succeed…no matter what. Babe Ruth, the great American Baseball player said “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” You may not be the fastest to the finish line but perseverance, the ability to finish what you start is an absolute necessity when seeking success.

Do you know who won the 1968 Olympic Marathon in Mexico City? I don’t know either…but I do know who came in last. John Stephen Akhwari a Tanzanian runner cramped up during the race due to the high altitude of the city. At the 19 kilometer point during the 42 km race, there was jockeying for position between some runners and he was hit. He fell, badly injuring his knee and shoulder. But he continued running, finishing dead last among the 57 competitors who completed the race. The winner of the race finished in 2:20:26. John Stephen Akhwari finished in 3:25:27, when there were only a few thousand people left in the stadium, and the sun had already set. A television crew was sent out from the medal ceremony when word was received that there was one more runner about to finish.

As he finally crossed the finish line a cheer came from the small crowd. When interviewed later and asked why he continued running, he said, “My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race; they sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race.” In my book John Stephen Akhwari was a huge success that day. Anyone can start something but it takes a successful person to finish it.

When you think to yourself that “I can’t” you make it much less likely that you will. When you say “I can’t” out loud you make it virtually certain that you won’t. 

Some clever person once said “Success comes in cans…failure comes in “can’ts.” That’s almost too clever to write but the fact is, it’s true. Thinking you “can’t” is like giving yourself permission to fail, worse yet, it could even give you permission to not even try. 

Never let anyone tell you that you can’t succeed and never, never, tell that lie to yourself. 

Remember, winning doesn’t always mean coming in first and winning doesn’t always mean performing the best. Sometimes winning just means finishing what you started even when most everyone else believes you can’t. 

 

4 thoughts on “I Can and You Can Too

  1. ‘ I can if I decide I can. ‘

    Love it Steve! Yes, whenever we feel like we can achieve something, action is inevitable even if the goal proves to be out of reach in the end!

    I would even say that not knowing if we can or not is still providing a little more wiggle room than a belief of ‘ I can’t. ‘

    Once we believe we can’t do something, even if we really can, the can’t closes the door to effort and action. Or even trying for that matter.

    Thanks again for another good post Steve.

    • Thanks Samantha. You make a great point, not knowing if we can or can’t at least allows us the opportunity to try. “Can’t” is one of the most destructive words in the English language, it limits our potential and it often closes the door to our happiness.

      What a different life we would have if we had never learned that little word.

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