In the English language, there are few words or phrases that are more destructive, more disruptive, more discouraging, nor more damaging than can’t. Matters not if it is used in its formal form of cannot, separated for emphases as can not, nor pronounced as if it spelled cain’t, the damage, the discouragement, the destruction is the same.
Parents will use the term believing they are teaching their children not to do something harmful. When physical or emotional harm is the known outcome, it is still encouraging to use another word. A child should not have to put their hands to a put stove to know it is hot and will burn them, but the common usage of can’t is too tempting to bleed over into other uses whose damage will not be seen for years.
Each person is born with a unique set of talents and gifts. Often parents are not sure what to do with their child when they are different. Unknowingly, a parent may tell a child they cannot do something out of fear or jealousy. Suppose they have a child who is adapt at piano when they never were. The parent might tell the child “You can’t spend the time to learn well enough.” The parent is making a judgement about their child and placing the seeds of doubt within them. Instead, the parent should empower the child to make a better decision whether to pursue and for how long: “I believe you can play well. Let’s set some learning goals and a practice schedule to get there.” Sure, these first goals may be as simple as learning the C scale in both directions with proper finger placement, but it shows the child how the path will look.
Parents are not the only ones who disarm with can’t. Often a person themselves will sabotage their own success by looking at a new endeavor and saying “I could never do that,” or worse “I can’t do that.” How do you know till you fully try? Don’t assume you cannot and then give a half-hearted effort to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, believe that perhaps you can do it. Create a plan, even it is just a mental one, and give 110% to the attempt. Decide and take massive action.
Inside each and every person ever born or will be born has an unique blend of talents and gifts that the World needs to better itself. How those gifts are used is the choice of that person and no one else. Whether or not those gifts and talents are used is also a choice of that same person, no matter what negative “can’t” words have been used by others toward them. Every great leap forward, every great progressive step, every breakthrough, every incredible discovery was created by someone who refused to accept the limits imposed of them by others. Create your can. Drop the can’t.