“I can’t.”

 

No, I am not going to be making an argument here for you lifting anything with your mind.  Until someone proves to us that lifting anything (let alone an x-wing (let alone has an actual x-wing to lift)) with their mind is possible, we are working within our realm of human possibility here.

I have heard “I can’t” from a lot of Jedi, and every time I do I want to beat them with a gimer stick.

KJzGqPU(Seriously…I am just going to move to a swamp, put on an antic disposition like Yoda and be done with it.)

First off, if you say you can’t, then you can’t.  You have already failed because you refuse to try.

Second off, maybe you are right.

~Wait, what‽‽‽~
(Interrobang for the win!!!!!!)
(There is a new term/punctuation mark for most of you.)
(Learn something new every day.)

So, you say you can’t learn a foreign language.  Or you say you will never be able to lift a certain weight.  Or you say that you can’t run a marathon.  Or maybe it is something else completely.  Maybe a diet goal, or a savings goal…anything.  You might be right.  You may be incapable of that thing, but that does not mean you are incapable of improving your ability.

If you look at the grand end goal from the beginning, of course it seems impossible.  A foreign language, weight lifting, marathons…those are HUGE goals.  In order to make any sort of progress, you have to break those goals down.

Instead of saying you want to learn a foreign language, start by saying I want to do x many DuoLingo lessons of a language per week, or I want to take a class in that language, or I want to learn how to count to ten in a different language, or buy a textbook in a language and commit to learning one chapter at a time.  You may never become fluent in a language, but you may learn just enough to help translate for someone or communicate with someone who only speaks that language on a basic level.

Instead of saying you want to lift some massive amount of weight.  Find out what you can lift now.  Start doing reps 3+ times a week of what you can lift until that becomes easy.  Add a few pounds and repeat.  You may never reach that massive weight, but you still made yourself stronger than when you began.

Instead of saying you want to run a marathon, start by saying you want to run a 5k (3.1 miles and usually the shortest race distance) in 45 minutes or less (approximate minimum time for a race I usually do), or break it down even further and say you want to do a mile in 15 minutes or less.  Once you can do the mile, do the 5k, once you can do the 5k, do an 8k, then a 10k.  You may never run a marathon, but you can still run more than most people ever attempt.

With each of these small goals, once you achieve it, you set a new small goal.  Then another.  Then another.  And you keep working towards small goals until AND BEYOND, achieving the most you can possibly achieve (because generally, if you do not continue to practice a skill or ability, you lose it).

I give you one of my favorite quotes:

ENGL1102blogpostbetter

I have seen this quote get a bad rap…even saw it on a list of quotes that need to stop being used, but it means so much to me.  Shoot for a goal, no matter how impossible it may seem, because even if you really can’t achieve that goal, you can still make progress, still improve.

I learned this as a little girl.  For two years I tried to learn how to do a areal (no handed) cartwheel.  Two years I failed.  But every time I stepped up to the mat I repeated over and over “I think I can” (yes, like the Little Engine…like I said, I was a kid.)  My attitude and my mantra was known to my acrobatic classmates, many of them were inspired by it, they would use it for themselves, they even took to repeating it with me when I when I would attempt it each time as a form of encouragement.  It was amazing how powerful such a small thing had become.  Finally one day I did.  A month later I could also do an areal walkover.  No matter how impossible it ever seemed, I never stopped trying.  Never stopped working to be better.

Unless you are talking about plans you cannot commit to, or something like that, never say you can’t.  Because when you do, what you are really saying is “I won’t.”

 

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Overcoming

Physical limitations.  Some of us are lucky not to experience them in any real way.  Some of us are not.  Sometimes it is a temporary limitation, perhaps you broke your leg playing basketball and need to go through an extensive period of physical therapy.  For others, it is something they will carry with them for their entire life.

It is very easy, when you have some sort of physical limitation, to just blame it for not being able to do certain things and move on.  “I get chest pains when I run, so I can’t run.”  “I have tendinitis in my hands, so I can’t climb.”  “I have a bad back so I can’t….anything.”

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”
~Jim Rohn

This even applies, to some extent, to major handicaps.  Look at the Paralympians or the numerous other athletes who have missing limbs and what not, but still find a way to be active because they are driven to do so.  If you are in a wheelchair, make use of your arms.  If you are missing an arm, trying running.  Yes, in some cases they are only able to gain the fame  they do due to expensive prosthetics, treatments, or other expensive aid, but we are not looking for fame here, we are looking for effort and intent.

If you are in a wheelchair, you will likely never be able to run a marathon, but what CAN you do.  Similar to how they say losing ones sight heightens a persons hearing (maybe not to the extent of Daredevil, but still), if you cannot use your legs, learn to use your arms.  If you are missing a limb, make use of the other three.  Will it be difficult at first? You bet it will.  Is it worth it?  You will have to make that judgement for yourself, but I have never heard anyone say no.

I would say yes.

******

I have mentioned before, that one week after I was born, I was diagnosed with SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).  For the first year of my life, I was hooked up to breathing monitors.  For the first year of my life, I was on all sorts of medications that, as an infant baby, made me cry constantly.  Around the time of my first birthday they finally started to ween me from all of this (and according to my mother, being off the medication made me a completely different baby).  Around the time I was in third grade however, I began to notice something that would prove that those days were not entirely in the past.  I started getting chest pains every time I ran.  Sharp pains, that felt like being stabbed repeatedly to the chest and made it nearly impossible to breath.  From 3rd grade through about 7th grade, I was constantly at the hospital, seeing various specialists, undergoing all sorts of testing trying to determine the cause to my pain.  Eventually, I told my mother I was done, I did not want to see anymore doctors, they were not finding anything.  Many years later I would find out that my mother and the doctors had came to the conclusion that this was a birth defect, but my mother never shared this with me until I told her that I had always assumed that was what it was (I was in my mid-20’s when that happened…thanks mom).

Through all this time, and on all the way through high school, I was always on a doctors note.  I was excused from running in gym class, and I was permitted to carry advil or a similar medication with me at all times in case I had an onset of chest pains.  I even left school several times because the pain would come on and be too much to ignore (stress can bring them on as well).  I submitted to the pain.  I let it dictate what I could and could not do.

Then, one day, a few years after high school, I decided that I was done letting it dictate what I did, and I started running for the first time since I was a toddler.  I have never really stopped since.  Two years ago I ran my first 5K.  Last year I ran my first 10K.  I cannot run the entire time, I have to do intervals…usually 2 minutes of running vs. 3 minutes of walking, sometimes reverse if I am having a good day, but I still get up and do it.  I have learned to breath through stress related episodes, so that I can continue with what I am doing.

I also have a bad back.  I landed a flip-flop on my head when I was fifteen years old.  Messed up the lumbar area of my back forever.  I had about a year of treatment, three times a week, and it is better than it once was, but it will always be a problem.  There are a lot of exercises I come across when doing workout programs and just go nope…nope, my back cannot handle that now.  If I can modify it, I do, and sometimes I can work up to doing the regular move.  Other times I cannot.  So, I focus on the exercises I can do, and I take extra care of my back.  I stretch, I foam roll, I make extra sure to drink enough water (you would be amazed the difference in how my back feels when I am properly hydrated compared to when not).

******

Both of these things I have learned to manage (as well as a few other lesser issues, like my recent develoment of Reynauld’s Disease).  These are worst than what some people experience.  They are also nothing compared to what some people experience.  Still, they were my struggles, they were mine to overcome.  If you have some sort of disability, you need to figure out what you are capable of.  Research others with your same problem who have excelled physically, read their stories, follow their advice, and even see if you can talk to them about it.  Talk to anyone you can who can give you expert advise.  If you have a regular doctor or physical therapist, talk to them about what you can do to achieve these new goals.  It will not change overnight, it is a long road, and all uphill, but when you get to the top of that hill, look down, and realize how far you have come…yeah, it is worth it.

As Jedi, we should be prepared for anything that comes at us, in anyway we can.  How can you prepare yourself?  How can you improve yourself?  Everyone begins as a novice, what matters is that you begin.