I Presently Struggle With

By Ron Pereira Updated on May 17th, 2017

One of my favorite quotes from the P90X training videos goes like this.

“If you can eliminate the mindset that ‘I can’t. I can’t do pull ups.’ Forget I can’t – say ‘I presently struggle with’ and if you keep that mindset then over the course of time, someone who’s dream was to do two or three could turn it into twenty and more. – Tony Horton, P90X


The reason I love this saying is you can replace the words “do pull ups” with just about any other phrase imaginable.  And, sadly, many people do.

And no matter if it’s my children saying I can’t or a grown-up resisting the idea of 5S in their work area the problem is the same.

Pure Poison

You see, I believe the words I can’t are pure poison. In fact, these 2 words are like a deadly disease gone viral.

The minute someone says they can’t do something others, even those with positive attitudes, are almost certainly demotivated. Worse yet, others may actually believe they can’t do something as well.

I Presently Struggle With

And while there are some things we indeed can’t do (think birthing children men) in most cases there is no reason to ever utter – or think – these poisonous words.

So, the next time you find yourself saying (or thinking) I can’t just stop.  Then breathe.  Then replace the words I can’t with I presently struggle with.

You, and everyone around you, will be better for it.

Do you agree?

  1. Jeremy Garner

    March 30, 2010 - 7:02 am

    I believe that our focus has a big effect on our outcome. We should see ourselves succeeding, even when our first attempts do not appear positive. Failure is the catalyst of success. If we keep a positive outlook and cultivate our determination by studying the process of success in other leaders that we admire, there is no limit to the goals that we can achieve. I read somewhere “Success is how high you bounce after you’ve hit the bottom”.

  2. Kevin Akers

    March 30, 2010 - 7:39 am

    Awesome stuff.

  3. Rick Foreman

    March 30, 2010 - 7:52 am

    Those that say they can’t and those that say they can are both right. As long as it lines up with a biblical foundation for our choices, I like the perspective of noting, “I can do all things through Christ, Who strengthens me.” Sorry for the religious perspective but I may struggle with accomplishing something but with Him, I will get it done. Nice post. The fear of failure has become so prevalent that many choose not to follow the path of “I can.”

  4. Robert

    March 30, 2010 - 9:49 am

    I think the key is in “who’s dream was to”.
    I would use “I can’t” to state something I do not wish to change or learn.

  5. Joe Clark

    March 31, 2010 - 9:22 am

    I’ve added “I can’t” or It can’t be done” to my list of Wastes when I’m training. The idea is you never know unless you try and if you don’t try you missed an opportunity.

  6. David Lair

    April 16, 2010 - 7:34 am

    I’ve always told my kids that “Can’t” lives on “Won’t” Street

  7. Steve

    July 19, 2010 - 11:54 am

    I read or heard this phrase a long time ago, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are probably correct.” My father taught me to never say can’t, and I am now teaching my kids not to say it and that can’t never could.

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