Written by Telana Simpson

“I can’t” or “I won’t”- It’s your choice, so you decide.

Because your choice of language influences your experience of life.

The actual words you use when you talk can create a state and a perception of reality that will result in you experiencing life in a certain way.

If you don’t believe me, then try this little exercise:

Think of something that you would love to have that’s on the more expensive side- like a new item of clothing or a holiday. Now notice how you feel when you say to yourself the following two statements about that expensive item:

I can’t afford it.
How can I afford it?

Your language choice effects your motivation
Very few words changed in the two statements, yet they result in very different experiences.

We have a habitual way of thinking and talking that is termed our “modal operator”. It reflects our beliefs about the mode in which we operate in the world.

Your mental mode

We can operate from a mental mode of laws, where we use language like should, must, and have to.

We can also function from the mental world of opportunities, where the words we would use would be possible to, can do, will, may, would, could, or from the mental world of impossibilities, where the words commonly used would be can’t, wont, shouldn’t.

If we tend to use words like ought to or should we are probably coming from a world view of obligation, whereas the words of want to, dare to, and desire to show a map of empowerment, and the words of choose to, like to, opt to show a world of choice.

Words have feelings

Words of impossibility and necessity usually leave us feeling we have less options, and these “rules” tend to limit our behaviour and resourcefulness.

Words of desire and possibility have the effect of leading to more motivation and drive, and leave us feeling at cause and that we are more resourceful in that we can choose.

You choose your language

Noticing and then adjusting the language you use according to your intention in that moment can have a profound effect on your life.

  • When you need to motivate yourself notice what language gets you moving more: “I must do…”, or “I can do…” or “I get to do…”
  • Is your self discipline enhanced by saying “I cannot…”, “I will not…”, or “I choose to not….”?

We always have the choice on how to language something- even if it feels like we don’t have a choice because it has become a habitual choice, it’s still a choice.

The language you choose to use can describe where you are limiting yourself, and even create limits.

Or, it can set you free from limitations and leave you with possibilities and choice. It all depends on how you want to experience your life.

“Don’t say I can’t, say I won’t”
– Fritz Perls


To you languaging yourself for the life you want!

About the Author:

Our Coach, Telana SimpsonTelana is a dynamic, transformational Personal Coach and Blogger who specializes in communicating and relating.  She is fascinated by consciousness evolution and goes on adventures to push her boundaries and preconceptions.  She offers coaching and training programmes to help individuals develop their ability to express themselves and their potentials and improve their relationships, and is a host of an online TV show.