35 Days ’til 40: If You Say I Can’t, I WILL!!!

17 Jan



One of the largest motivators in my life this far has been an individual telling me “there is no way you can do that!”  “You just can’t!”  This is usually the catalyst that propels me into overdrive in order to make sure that the achievement occurs.  I should state that I always find this as a wonderfully exhilarating challenge and I look forward to proving “I can”.

I have many examples of this happening throughout my lifetime.  When my oldest was in second grade she learned how to knit.   She was obsessed with knitting and my mother sent her knitting supplies for her birthday, along with a short knitting guide-book for children.  After a few months my daughter grew bored with the knitting and stopped.  I then picked up the knitting guide and started studying it.  My partner looked at me as I was carefully reading and proclaimed, “You can’t learn to knit from a book!”  Twenty scarves, numerous pairs of gloves, 20+ hats and three sweaters later I have more than proven her wrong – Indeed, I CAN learn to knit from a book!!!

I work at a wonderful school.  Two years before I got to the school there was a strategic planning session where it was decided that the school would not be capable or able to grow and offer a solid high school program.   Additionally, when I agreed to move to take the position a friend said to me, “you can’t move there, they only go to grade 6 – your own children need a school through high school.”  I replied, “By the time my girls need a high school, there will be one.”  Today, five years later, we have a solid, accredited high school program – 4 years before my eldest even needs it!

There are individuals who are discouraged and lose hope when people tell them something cannot be done.  I do not respond this way – I muster up every last bit of energy within and work to prove that, indeed, almost nothing is really impossible.



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27 responses to “35 Days ’til 40: If You Say I Can’t, I WILL!!!

  1. fransiweinstein

    January 17, 2013 at 00:12

    Great attitude. Great philosophy. Great example for your kids.

  2. Toni

    January 17, 2013 at 00:40

    What a wonderful attitude! You are able to achieve whatever you dream. I love it!

  3. lengesinski

    January 17, 2013 at 03:04

    Using a Motivational Tool to an Advantage, Making Something Positive Out of Potential Negative Situation.

  4. walkwiththerabbi

    January 17, 2013 at 03:23

    Oh my G-D, do I ever relate to this – on so many levels! For starters, my book “The Walk,” goes right to the heart of this theme and provides guidance as to what’s required to succeed every time (by the way, I’m so excited. My book’s Kindle version was released today. YEAH!!! Here’s a link: : I’m shameless! I was told months ago that I wouldn’t attain best-seller status for several reasons, i.e., competition, etc. Just watch me! I WILL it to be so! I was told 45 years ago by a so-called expert, to try anything but being a financial advisor. Forty-five very successful years later – how’s that rationale working out for ya? Like you, don’t tell me I CAN’T do something. That – WILL BE your cue to order humble pie! I CAN do anything I imagine! “As a person thinks in their heart, so they are.”

    • 400daystil40

      January 17, 2013 at 22:00

      Thanks so much for your comment! I love the humble pie comment!

  5. Mrs. Webmaster

    January 17, 2013 at 15:25

    I’m like you. If someone tells me you can’t, I get an overwhelming urge to prove them wrong. But I think people like you and me are in the minority.

    After 20 years of teaching middle school, I’ve seen gobs of kids throw their hands up and refuse to work when given the slightest criticism. Perhaps it’s their age. Middle school–as every adult knows–is an awkward and unusual time.

    Just yesterday I told my teacher’s aide (who was utterly shocked that a learning disabled boy in my class wrote an entire page-long essay about Treasure Island), “The trick is to convince them that they’re GOOD at writing. Any criticism at all will shut them down.”

    Time has taught me that positive encouragement is 100 times more effective with middle schoolers than criticism. I believe in that philosophy with all my heart.

    So what makes us so unusual? Why don’t middle schoolers have this drive to prove people wrong? Is it just their fragility at this awkward age? Or are all people–adults and children–more likely to shut down when criticized?

    • 400daystil40

      January 17, 2013 at 21:55

      Wow, I love your comment because you are so right! I think this may get back to my post from yesterday, about the realities of helicopter parents – that because students are protected too much they have not learned how to fail and they fear failure. If a person fears failure, they may never attempt in the first place.

  6. Bob Faw

    January 17, 2013 at 15:57

    I really like your blog. I think I’d like having coffee with you. I like that you take on challenges like this.

    However to say “I always find this as a wonderfully exhilarating challenge and I look forward to proving “I can” ignores the thousands of times you didn’t.
    As a motivation expert I think those who read your wonderful blog for inspiration may be a bit (accidentally) misled by your inadvertent exaggeration.

    I’ll declare that you CAN’T send me a million dollars for every time you’ve proven someone wrong. 😉

    At the same time that I make this point, I do say that I love your enthusiasm as you wrote this post.

    • 400daystil40

      January 17, 2013 at 21:53

      Thanks, Bob – as I remind my students, it is all about the context. Any sentence taken out of context can be twisted to different meanings, can’t it? Thanks so much for visiting!!! 🙂

  7. Another Thousand Words

    January 17, 2013 at 20:52

    KUDOS here, 400…and I’m the same way! There is an ancient Chinese proverb I found on a greeting card many years ago, which I turned into a custom-made graphic to hang on my wall, as a reminder:

    “Those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt the person doing it.”

    Simple, and very precise, don’t you think?

  8. Darcel

    January 17, 2013 at 23:12

    This is just what I needed to read today. There are many things I CAN do. It may be difficult, but i won’t let that stop me.

    • 400daystil40

      January 20, 2013 at 23:15

      I am glad that you could relate to this post 🙂

  9. Spider42

    January 18, 2013 at 11:27

    Anything is possible… I love that idea and always have, it’s the only part of me that is truly optimistic.
    Good for you and here’s wishing you all the best in sticking with it and not letting life change that outlook – cheers.

  10. Becky Skuse

    January 18, 2013 at 23:29

    Oh wow, I thought I was the only ‘crazy’ person who thought like this! I’ve been called ‘rebellious’, ‘contrary’, ‘stubborn’ and even ‘reckless’. I think our sort of determination scares people. I don’t always succeed in achieving what other people tell me can’t be done, but at least I’ve tried – if you don’t try then how can you ever know? Love your blog btw, very thought-provoking. Becky x

  11. appletonavenue

    January 20, 2013 at 00:16

    I admire you. You have accomplished a lot. Keep up the good work!

  12. Gardengirl

    January 20, 2013 at 05:15

    I used to put a negative spin on this. If someone told me no, I did it anyway, even if it was my parents or husband. I am turning this around and applying my energies in a more positive way like you do. Congratulations on all that you’ve accomplished. 🙂


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