Don't focus on what you CAN'T; find what you CAN
Thursday, March 08, 2012
At the gym on their "Bally TV", one of the things mixed in with everything else are inspirational quotes. After a few days I've seen and read them all, but for some reason one of them struck me again tonight in a different way than I've thought about it before.
I think it may have to do with something I wrote in response to a SparkFriend's blog that was still somewhat fresh in my mind. (Had to do with doing what we can right now rather than focusing on the mountain we need to climb and the cliffs we can't possibly imagine being able to scale.)
== Self-discipline is easy when you believe that you can do it. Clear your mind of can't. -- Samuel Johnson ==
Normally I hone in on that word I like so much - believe. The strength of my belief that I am able to do is what allows me to do so much.
Tonight I caught on the word can't and realized I've been skipping over the second sentence as not being necessary or not important or something.
"Clear your mind of can't" just sounds too ... something. If I can't do something, how am I supposed to just clear my mind of knowing I can't? In a way it is negating the reasoning of the person who believes they can't without providing any solution other than "believe you can". And while I think believing is important, I don't think it magically overrides natural law.
Of course, what it really depends on is what we're saying we can't do.
I can't fly by flapping my arms. No amount of believing I can will change that.
I can't go to the gym right now. STOP!
Now, wait just a minute. What's stopping me from going to the gym? I have feet. The gym is not that far away. I can put my sneakers back on and walk it in half an hour. It is not impossible. Why am I saying I can't?
The problem lies in my failure to clearly identify what it is that I can't do. I know I actually CAN get to the gym, but it closed at 10 pm and won't reopen until 5 am - and it's 1 am right now (.... go to BED, BLUE! Dagnabbit!) What's the point of getting to the gym? It's doing a workout. So CAN get to the gym is true, but CAN get a workout at the gym at 1 am is not. No amount of believing will get me a gym workout right now.
Now that I have my can't statement straight, I can turn things around. I don't clear my mind of can't. I clarify exactly what it is I can't, then turn it around and look at what I can. The reason for wanting to get to the gym would be to do a workout. But workouts don't REQUIRE the gym. Nor do workouts have to be done immediately if I plan tomorrow better.
* I can find and do a workout video in my room right now.
* I can play music and dance energetically.
* I can set my alarm an hour early and go to the gym before work.
* I can work out longer at my next workout.
* I can eat less this week based on how many calories I failed to burn.
* I can plan ahead so I won't get to 1 am and still need a workout in the future.
Some of those aren't the best or even good options for a variety of reasons. It's 1 am. I should be sleeping. No workout is important enough to get an hour less of sleep for me. But unlikely as I am to pick those choices, they are things that I can do.
In fact, there's a lot more that I can do than those I've listed. As long as I sat around telling myself "I can't go to the gym right now", nothing was accomplished. Once I clarified what it was that was impossible to do, I opened my mind to looking for what was possible.
This made me think of the Sherlock Holmes quote: "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"
If we clarify our can't to be the impossible, we can look at the possible and the improbable, and find the truth of what we can.
Oh, and since it wasn't at all obvious, that was just an example. The gym for me is right next to my bus transfer point coming home from work. The only day I had an issue, I'd forgotten to pack my workout shirt and the sweater I had on wasn't workable. Home is 15-20 by bus, so I just went home, changed clothes, and went back and got my workout done. I've accidentally gone one stop past and walked back. Really, there is NO legitimate reason I should ever be saying "I can't get to the gym" in my current circumstances.