I hate the words “I can’t.” They are overused and a catch-all for excuses. Whenever someone spews those words from their mouth, I involuntarily think, “why not?” I think, “Could you with more practice – more time – more money?” These situations are solvable. Not enough money? If a person is physically capable, there are additional hours in the day and the social environment allows, then a second, part-time job would solve the situation. Randy……….sigh…………..that would require effort and I’m fresh out. In the words of Yoda, “That is why you fail.” A person that really want’s something doesn’t use the words “I can’t.” Maybe “how” or “when”, but not “I can’t.”
People use the words “I can’t” in hopes of explaining away their lack of a spine. A person’s lack of desire to remedy a situation is what determines their meandering path and future. If you have cubes of Jello where your vertebrae should be, then settle in to wherever you are because you’re gonna be there a while. If there is an obstacle in your life, then all your energy should be in finding a solution – not an excuse that you can use at the next block party.
Every guy that was in my BUD/S class will remember two things ‘till the day he dies – his class number and how bad a runner I was. There were many a conditioning run where my fellow students got behind and pushed me as I was falling behind because they didn’t want to see me be part of the “goon squad” after the run was over. The goon squad was the group of poor performers that the instructors punished for not keeping up. As a squad member, I got to hit the surf, roll around in the sand, run even more, throw up, run more, get wet again, hate myself for sucking at running and, oh yeah, get sandy again. It was so much fun that I did it almost on every run.
In my defense, the farthest I had run at one time before entering the front doors of BUD/S was about a mile. Running sucked then and it sucks now. I hate it passionately. I do it, but I hate it.
Notice that I didn’t let my piss-poor running ability get in the way of becoming a SEAL. If I was a younger version of me, most people would tell me not to try to go to BUD/S. They’d say, “Hey Randy, you dumbass, they run a lot at BUD/S.” I’m glad I’m not a younger version of me. I could have used it as an excuse and told myself and others that, “I can’t be a SEAL because I suck at running.” I just figured that if I sucked so much that I couldn’t hack it, the instructors would let me know. Funny, in the 34 years after BUD/S, no one has asked me how fast I run the mile – because no one outside of BUD/S cares – including me.
On a particular day during Third Phase, I had performed poorly on an eight-mile run, and the Third Phase Officer decided to turn eight miles into ten just for me. Personal coaching at its best. He made me run, all the while circling around me and telling me how much of a turd I was for sucking at running. He must have talked to my mom because he explained how disappointed she was and how she would disown me - and other stuff that I will leave out. After I was done with my one-on-one mentoring session, I re-joined the class – already in session. One of the older and wiser instructors was looking at my rifle qualification target and, with a southern drawl quipped, “Beausoleil, it’s a good thing you can shoot ‘cause you sure wouldn’t be able to run away from a gunfight.” Well, I never planned to run away from a gunfight, so it’s a good thing and with fighting back as my only option, I think being a crappy runner made me a better SEAL – at least that’s what I’m telling myself.
I get it, some people are physically or otherwise handicapped and certain things are just not possible. Some folks have family situations that get in the way. Opportunity, to others, just isn’t available due to their social environment. These situations are not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about are the people that are able and still choose not to “do” and use the words “I can’t” believing that they will relieve the perceived social pressure from whomever they are talking to. In these cases, a better way of saying “I can’t” is “I don’t want to” or “I’m scared” or “I won’t.” But, using these phrases takes guts. Using these phrases means that you are unwilling to weigh your options and act to rectify whatever ails ya.
So, if you are able and you have guts, then there is no reason why you can’t change a situation for the better. It may take years and a lot of effort, but it will pay off and you will learn how to change Jello to bone.