No, you can't do anything you set your mind to do, but I understand the sentiment. If you had told me two years ago that I would set my mind to lose weight and would lose 100 pounds in a year, I would have doubted it. But I was very, very determined, and in moments of weakness I depended on my mind to push the body past what it wanted to do. I didn't know I had it in me.
That's ridiculous. Unless you start adding obvious qualifiers like "within reason" ... or say, "well, it's more of motivational saying" or "figuratively" ... at which point the saying becomes vacuous.
Now, is it possible to set goals and achieve them? Yes. Is it possible frequently to do what one thought one couldn't do by pushing harder or being pushed harder and further? Definitely. Is it often the case that things we think we *can't* do are not impossible but only off-limits to us because of other limitations we've set up for ourselves? Sure.
But the whole "you can do anything you set your mind to" mentality is offensively stupid and harmful.
"Habe nun, ach! Philosophie, Juristerei und Medizin, Und leider auch Theologie Durchaus studiert ..." (Goethe, "Faust")
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