Words hold within them an immense power. Power that has a greater impact on our lives than most of us understand.
"Can't," is a negative word and barrier to new ideas and adventures and a destroyer of dreams and, for the most part, wouldn't be missed if it was eliminated from one's vocabulary.
When "can't" is used in relation to taking action, doubt sets in and we readily admit defeat. This low-level thinking places a restrictive barrier around us and sabotages our self-confidence.
There really isn't anything we "can't" do. We may choose not to do something, but it doesn't mean we "can't" do it.
So, why is "can't" such an overused and abused word today? A big part of the problem is our distorted perception of what "failure" represents.
Most of us are taught from a very early age that failure is the opposite of success. Although we have all experienced it more than once, we continue to be terrified of it.
We use the word "can't" as a crutch and run from failure as though it is some sort of plague because we perceive it as something negative and damaging to our mental, emotional, and even physical health.
We dread losing and don't want to embarrass ourselves by making a mistake or misstep, so we become paralysed, do nothing and sink into mediocrity.
The truth is humans adapt through trial and error and failure is a natural, integral part of everything we do. When perceived correctly, it is a stepping stone towards success, not a barrier against it.
How we learn and grow, how we handle our so called "failures" and setbacks in life is the real determining factor to how successful we ultimately are.
Rather than perceiving failure through a negative lens, we need to understand the value this feedback provides us.
Every time we seemingly "get it wrong," we learn more about how to get it right. Without this knowledgeable feedback, improving our conditions would be impossible.
Within every "failure" there is equal opportunity for success and when approached from a healthy, positive perspective, our "failures" are a "silver lining" and our greatest opportunities for growth.
No matter how many times we may have fallen short, each one moves us closer to success.
If we have not nurtured and grown our inner power, when new opportunities or ideas present themselves, fear, change, and a lack of self-confidence immediately surface to protect us and keep us tucked into our "safe zone," protected from hurt.
In other words, when we're not grounded on the inside, change on the outside is scary, and our first reaction is to protect ourselves. Once we hover under the protective cover of fear, inaction is the result. Without action, nothing changes.
We need to see through the veil of appearances and recognise that every circumstance and every experience carries within it the seeds of success. Our job is to stay committed to the end goal by keeping a positive attitude and building fresh "thought pathways" with the new information our "failures" provide us.
Once we begin treating failure as a learning opportunity, it loses the power to hold us back and we move forward confidently into positive, effective action.
In the end, our desire for success must be stronger than our fear of disappointment and failure because we cannot allow any misstep, failure or disappointment to stop us.
We must embrace and use the valuable lessons learned and the knowledge gained to move us closer to our goal.
Failures are a road map offering us a clearer point of view. We need to embrace them, learn from them and grow from them.
Great inventors who "failed" many times before achieving success had this to say on the subject: Henry Ford - "Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently." Thomas Edison shared this wisdom: "I've not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
The process of elimination is a powerful tool towards creating what does work and should never be viewed as failure.
Life is a journey with many opportunities and lots of ups and downs, but the educational benefits gained from "failure" far exceeds any cost in time or otherwise.
It's not accesses to better coaching or training opportunities, inborn talent or even stellar work ethic that separates winners from everyone else.
Highly successful people are not necessarily the smartest or most naturally gifted either, but they have one thing in common, they embrace their "failures" as necessary stepping stones and they never give up. Words such as can't, couldn't and won't have little value to them.
Obvious or not, every step taken is a step closer to success and all past "failures" are just groundwork for future successes.
It's not failure that is our biggest setback and greatest barrier in life, but our fear of failure that is.
How we handle our setbacks and misfortunes and the lens we view our failures through, is what ultimately determines how high we soar.
Carolyn Hansen is co-owner of Anytime Fitness.