I currently coach a soccer team. During one of my practices, I asked my players to shoot with their left foot. Almost all of the players immediately responded, "I can’t." Not one of them said anything similar to, "I haven’t practiced that enough to do it correctly." After attempting to shoot lefty, they came back with, “We told you we couldn’t.” It was at this point that I stopped practice, gathered them all together, and asked "How many girls here can fly a plane?" Interestingly enough, here were their responses:
1. “If I took flying lessons I could.”
2. “I am not old enough.”
3. “If someone taught me.”
Not one girl, of the 13 at practice said, “I can’t.” Why would they believe that flying a plane is easier than kicking a ball with their left foot? Of course, they don’t believe that. They just prefer, like the rest of us, to do what comes easy, in this case, using their right foot. I am sure that all of them are perfectly capable of learning to use their left foot. I am also sure, that very few are willing to put forward the effort required, to learn to do so. Why? Learning to fly a plane may take time to learn but the girls are able to see the benefits that will be achieved and therefore respond the way they did. Since the benefits of learning to kick left footed are not so clear to them, the effort is too great and therefore they respond with, "I can’t."
Isn’t it curious that when we say we can’t do something it usually refers to something that we can do, but requires a lot of practice and effort? We don’t say, “I really feel that the results of learning to do this would require much more time and effort than I am willing to put into it.” Or how about simply saying, “I won’t?” This may sound strong, but the reality is that we need to speak honestly to ourselves to be able to overcome the challenges that we face in our lives. When we tell ourselves that we can’t do something, we are in essence, lying to ourselves and therefore not able to reach our full potential. Take responsibility for your decisions regarding what you chose to do or not do (not can or can’t do). Focus on the things you really want for yourself and as they say, “You can do anything.”
Since that day of practice, no girl on my team ever says to me that they can’t do something, without hearing me say,”Oh, but you can fly a plane?” They get it after that.