In high school, my band director erased “can’t” from my vocabulary. We were a championship band, first in the state for 4A high schools. He delighted in giving us the most challenging routines and music while watching us rise to the occasion and tolerated nothing less than our absolute best, knowing that our greatest potential often lay just below our valid but weak excuses.
I remember more than one occasion, trying and trying to get a note set correct and failing miserably (in front of people by the way). After the fifth time, I quit trying.
“I can’t do it.”
“I’m sorry, what?”
“I can’t do it, Mr. C.”
“I don’t understand that word. Try again.”
It’s amazing what you come up with when that word isn’t an option. I’m having trouble. This is hard. How in the world do I do this? I don’t know how. But not one of those gives me the option to stop trying. And every excuse carries with it the opportunity to discover a new journey in the struggle.
He never let me quit in the classroom or on the marching field. Slow down, sure. Take each note one finger at a time, yep. But NEVER quit. Because he knew I could if I set my mind to it, no matter the challenge.
Success lay just below the “I can’ts” just waiting to come to fruition with the acknowledgment of “I can…somehow.” And that lesson has shaped my writing journey. Rejections became detours. “Can’ts” became other challenges to conquer. I determined that I wanted it muchmore than I feared it.
Talent and giftedness may come naturally to a point. But success as a result of those abilities NEVER comes without hard work and a willingness to push past rejection, defeat, and redirection. As soon as you purge the excuses, the talent blooms, and it’s only a matter of time before others outside your circle begin to notice.
Where do you need to erase “can’t” from your vocabulary?