Can’t is a lazy fella.

That’s what my Grandma would say when I was whining. She was right.

Grandmas frequently are.

The challenge with a phrase like that is that it’s easy to say, but not so easy to turn around.

It takes a second to say ‘can’t’ and that’s it, you’re done.

It also takes a second to say ‘can’ but then you’re committed to the energy and time required to turn can into done.

But what if you really can’t, Michael?

Those of us who like to study language, often replace can’t for unable to; especially when you genuinely are unable to do something.

But there’s a thin line between being unable to and just not wanting to.

Or worse, thinking you’re not capable when you really are.

Human endeavour is incredible. The satisfaction of doing something that you initially thought you couldn’t do, sticking with it and then achieving it, truly is one of the most amazing feelings.

How do you go from can’t to can?

Three Ideas:

1. Change your language: See if you can replace can’t with ‘I’m up for it’, ‘I’ll have a crack’, ‘I will’ or something more positive that fits with you.

2. Do something: Anything! Even if it’s the tiniest progression, it means you’ve started. The trajectory is in the right direction.

Can’t = Stagnant.

3. Commit: The second you make a commitment (and make it public) you’re much more likely to do it.

Last week, 120 people signed up for my next Write That Book Masterclass.  I asked them to post on their social media profiles that they are now writing a book.

Because of this, friends, family and colleagues and a whole bunch of people they didn’t know are encouraging and supporting them.

What are your ideas to get past can’t?  Please share them below.

And speaking of books, take a look at this: The Write That Bookshop is now open, showcasing the incredible talent of previous members of Write That Book who have gone on to publish them.

You’ll see what they’ve created here.

Last year many thought can’t; this year, they thought can and shown done.

Let’s see what you can do today.

Be Brilliant!



  1. November 4th 2021 by Steve Scarlett

    I hate the word(s) can’t. People use it instead of, “You shouldn’t”, or “Maybe it would be better if you didn’t”. If I do something and someone says, “You can’t do that”. My usual response is, “I can because I’ve just done it.” My tolerance for this and lots of other trivial matters seems to have dwindled considerably over the last few years.

  2. November 4th 2021 by Jay De Burgjh

    I am writing my water elf cook book “Elhellen’s Kitchen Secrets ” I made a final front cover choice. It is a book 2. My book 1 is about the school and the girl with a small life who craves a war mage big life against a Sadistic heart broken dragon.
    Book 3 will be about her daughter writing the Queen’s life for Heritage Day.

  3. November 4th 2021 by Ruth Adams

    I was ten minutes away from walking into the biggest, most important interview of my life. I started to get the shakes and doubts were creeping into my head. The lady welcoming candidates must have seen me and noticed the changes in my demeanour. She leaned over to me and said, “My old Mom had a saying….I can and I shall. You can do this and you will do it.” I looked at her, so that glad she had said those words of comfort to me, thanked her and an hour later was offered the job I had dreamed of all my life. I say that manta every day now when I wake up. The lady became a member of my staff and we shall be friends for ever.

  4. November 4th 2021 by Marilyn Payne

    I am currently watching the Pride of Britain Awards. The first recipient of an award was a little girl who contracted Meningitis as a baby. She wasn’t expected to live but she did and went on to learn many activities and raise money for charity. When Carol Vorderman asked her what would she say to those who have been struggling during the pandemic. She said “Don’t give up. You CAN do it”. There was a lump in my throat and I cried. If ever I needed a kick up the rear, that was it.

  5. November 4th 2021 by Bonaventura Apicella

    It all depends from what you are intending to do. Amongst other things, when it come to writing, ‘cannot’ has no place in me.

  6. November 9th 2021 by Lenise

    I was always told growing up, there is no word such as, can’t. Yet, when I wanted to do something like become a writer, my |Mum changed her tune and told me that I was not good enough.
    I decided to change that thinking – because it became mine for many years – and decided to tell myself,
    If you don’t try, you will never know.
    Keep a positive mindset on whatever you decide to accomplish because you will surprise yourself.
    I have a sister who tells me that I may not sell many books. I told her, I don’t care. My aim is to be a published author.

    My advice is Go for it.

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