Why Your ‘Why Nots’ Are Lame

Most people only live a fraction of their potential. You do what you CAN do… but are you doing what you COULD do? I know that sounds like a tongue twister but read over it again, slowly. Most people do what they CAN do, but not what they COULD do. Most people accomplish what they can accomplish and are usually satisfied with that. But there is a whole other world of possibilities out there that most of us don’t even let ourselves think about.

The larger question we need to ask ourselves is: Can we reach a greater potential than we have ever imagined?

In fact, if you stop and think about it, What could you do? I mean if you weren’t afraid to fail, or if you decided to quit coming up with reasons to not do something, what COULD you actually accomplish?

As a psychotherapist I was always intrigued by the stories that people told about themselves. These stories often detailed where and why they were stuck in life. We ALL tell ourselves stories to legitimize our fears. Listen to your stories (excuses) about why you didn’t do something. Not to be rude, but odds are good that your stories about the “why nots” of your life are lame at best. We can do so much more if we just choose to do it.

Your potential, your possibilities, are far bigger than you can imagine.
Joey Boring, a stockbroker with Edward Jones, was an average performer until he got a vision of what he COULD do. Within two years Joey became one of their top performers, winning vacations and bonuses for his performance. In fact, during the global financial crisis, his performance was up 43%. Why? Joey decided not to limit himself. He said, “I realized that I could do more than I ever thought I could do” and he did! During a time that could have easily been the worst financial period in his career, he chose to view it as an opportunity and began to focus his efforts on ways to better serve his existing clients. And the really great part is that this new attitude that was developed during a time of crisis continues to make Joey even more successful in the good times.

A young friend of mine, Ashtyn VanVooren, sprained her knee pretty badly. As a 14-year old she had a gymnastics event and decided that she could tell herself that it was too much, too hard and too painful—or she could tell herself that she was strong enough and good enough to do it. That day, she received the highest all around scores at the State Level Competition. She COULD do more than she WAS doing. Did it hurt? I am sure that it did. But often our greatest achievements come out of our greatest challenges.

Mike-MullaneI wonder what limits you are putting on yourself today. Perhaps we are only held back by our own limited thinking.

I was visiting last week with a friend of mine, Mike Mullane, an astronaut with NASA who has the name “Rocket-Rider” embroidered on his space suit. I loved something that he said: “When I was a kid, the sky was the limit. Then I became an astronaut. I don’t really know where the limits are anymore.” I certainly don’t want my thinking to set the limits.

Maybe if we let ourselves do what we COULD do, like Mike, we COULD be living a life without limitation and may even become “rocket-riders!”


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