We are looking at removing the finish line and running to race that God has put before us. To continue to run the race and move forward in what we are doing in life and in our work we must be dedicated to growing and changing. We saw last time that the first thing we need to change is the way we think because all growth begins on the inside of us. So, we are looking at how we should be thinking…
How do we need to think?
1> Stop thinking more work and start thinking what works?
2> Stop thinking ‘can I?’ and start thinking ‘How can I?’
At first glass, the questions ‘Can I?’ and ‘How can I?’ may appear to be very similar. However, the reality is that they are worlds apart in terms of results. ‘Can I?’ is a question filled with hesitation and doubt. It is a question that imposes limitations. If that is the question you regularly ask yourself, you’re undermining your efforts before you even begin. How many people could have accomplished much in life but failed to try because they doubted and answered ‘no’ to the question ‘Can I?’
When you ask yourself ‘How can I?’ you give yourself a fighting chance to achieve something. The most common reason people don’t overcome the odds is that they don’t challenge them enough. They don’t test their limits. They don’t push their capacity. ‘How can I?’ assumes there is a way. You just need to find it.
A mentor once asked me, “What would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail?” The answer for most people would be fairly obvious. A lot more than you are currently attempting! To do so, you will need to think outside the box. You will need to take more risks. You will need to push your boundaries. You will need to test your own limits. You and I need to realize that most of our limitations are based not on lack of ability, but lack of belief.
Sharon Wood, the first North American woman to climb Mount Everest, said of her experience, “I discovered it wasn’t a matter of physical strength, but a matter of psychological strength. The conquest lay within my own mind to penetrate those barriers of self-imposed limitations and get to the good stuff – the stuff called potential, 90 percent of which we barely use.” If you want to tap into that unused 90 percent, ask “How can I?” Do that and greater achievement becomes a matter of when and how, not if.
In Price Pritchett’s book “You” the author writes, “Your skepticism, which you presume is based on rational thinking and an objective assessment of factual data about yourself, is rooted in mental junk. Your doubts are not the product of accurate thinking, but habitual thinking. Years ago you accepted flawed conclusions as correct, began to live your life as if those warped ideas about your potential were true, and ceased the bold experiment in living that brought you many breakthrough behaviours as a child. Now it’s time for you to find that faith you had in yourself before.”
If you have spent time in a negative environment or you have experienced abuse in your life, you may find this thinking transition to be very difficult. If that describes you, then let me take a moment to encourage you and explain something. I’m asking you to shift from ‘Can I?’ to ‘How can I?’ I believe that deep down inside you already believe that you can achieve things. I believe you can do it. I believe that God has put in every person the potential to grow, expand, and achieve. The first step in doing that is believing that you can.
The second step is perseverance. As you get started, it may not look like you’re making progress. That doesn’t matter. Don’t give up. Pritchett says in his book that everything looks like a failure in the middle. He writes, “You can’t bake a cake without getting the kitchen messy. Halfway through surgery it looks like there’s been a murder in the operating room. If you sent a rocket to the moon, about ninety percent of the time it’s off course – it ‘fails’ its way to the moon by continually making mistakes and correcting them.”
You can change your thinking. You can believe in your potential. You can use failure as a resource to help you find the edge of your capacities. As psychiatrist Fritz Perls observed, “Learning is discovering that something is possible.” So, we need to believe in ourselves and the potential God has placed inside each one of us and continue learning, growing, and increasing our capacity.
More next time…