It’s a phrase that I’ve heard all my life. I’m sure you have too. With me, the perceived physical limitation I bear played a big part in that phrase being flung in my direction more often than I care to recall.
Most times, the words don’t even have to slide out of someone’s mouth… it’s a look that betrays perception. I can recognize it within a blink of an eye. I’m used to it… but I’ve never capitulated… more often defying it.
Admittedly, when I was younger, defying lower expectations of my ability came with a sense of vendetta. “Oh yeah, asshole? I’ll show you!” And I would too… with the malice to embarrass. Then I would swagger away in a victory laced with the annihilation of those silly doubters. That has changed too.
It was later that the sense of defiance lost (most of) the fury that pushed the action and morphed more into a personal challenge. Sure, these days if it is flung at me there does glow an ember of anger, but it quickly dissipates into a more creative mindset. I so much rather these days than those. There’s less slapping down and more building up involved. Winning now is more about achieving through excellence rather than the annihilation of the opponent.
This epiphany struck me upon realizing that when someone says, “You cant!” they are revealing their own limitations. What they mean is, that they couldn’t… if they were facing your circumstances.
Then there are those who throw it out not as doubt but to challenge. I appreciate those folk too… because sometimes we are content to sit on our fat asses basking in the glory of our past achievements instead of engaging in ongoing creativity. Yes, I’ve been guilty of that… but haven’t we all?
I can easily say that at least half my achievements were initially spurred on by this phrase… the other half by simple ambition. Both of which I thank my parents for instilling in me.
So, to all of you who said I couldn’t or even thought it… I’m counting you. No matter what your perception… you provided me with challenges… through which I have and continue to create. Thank You.