Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing

Exercise and Fitness

‘Canning’ Can’t

Guest Blogger: Ken La Salle

Several years ago, I decided to take up jogging. At the time, I was a smoker and I drank too much and, like many people, I tended to focus on the negatives in my life so much that I could hardly recognize the positives. Why did I decide to take up jogging? Because I was sick of being that person.

You see, many years ago, I was a jogger. How many? Let’s just say very many. I was just a kid and I ran very well. And then, I grew up and life became difficult. Somewhere, in trying to make life a little easier to get through, I had settled for the easy ways we have of dealing with pain, which included smoking, drinking, and negativity.

Then, one day, I found myself unemployed and not feeling too great. I went for a walk and the thought occurred to me, “I should be jogging this. Not just walking!”

Can you guess what the next thought was? My next thought was, “I can’t.” I mean, who was I kidding? Me? Jogging? Any time I could be considered a jogger (let along a runner), had long passed. I chalked it up to an entertaining pipe dream and lit up a cigarette. And I didn’t jog. Because I had reminded myself that I couldn’t.

It’s an efficient word: Can’t. You won’t find its like in too many sentences. Can’t is better than cannot by a whole syllable! When you tell yourself you can’t, you are being informed by an expert. Who would know better than yourself? Given its authoritative source, how can Can’t ever be wrong?

Answer: It can’t… at least, that’s what we tell ourselves. We begin to dream and immediately clamp down those dreams with a strong dose of Can’t. You can’t be an artist. You can’t be happy. You can’t travel or pursue your career or build your relationships. Can’t. Can’t. Can’t.

Then, a few weeks later, I found myself back on that same walk again. Once again, I thought, “I should be jogging this.” After all, the walk was only a couple of miles. It wasn’t that far. When I was younger, I would jog ten miles at a time with no problem. This was nothing!

And then I heard, “You can’t.” And I thought, “Why not?”

Why not? That’s the answer when you start telling yourself you can’t. Why not try? Why not enjoy life? Why not make your dream come true? Why not?

I found out “Why not” a few days later. I went out on my jog in running shorts and running shoes and began to jog and – immediately ran head-first into a solid wall of pain. After jogging less than half a mile, my legs were killing me. I could barely walk!

You see, a little voice inside my head told me. I told you that you couldn’t. It was very persuasive.

So, I went back to the jog again and hurt myself again. For days, this went on. I would jog out of my house and hobble back in, my legs in agony. Then, for weeks, I kept going, feeling like an idiot every time I hurt myself. For months, I tried being a jogger and kept running into real reasons for Can’t: My legs hurt; my feet hurt; I was out of shape; I couldn’t breathe; it wasn’t working… Can’t!

Of course, you’ve probably guessed by now why I’m telling you this. The other day, I jogged eight miles. After years of trying, I am a jogger once again. Every time I said “I can’t,” I was wrong. I could. Sure, maybe not right away. Sure, it took time. And sure, I am certainly not breaking any land speed records out there.

I’m still overweight. But I don’t smoke and I don’t drink a lot and, most of all, I no longer live my life by focusing on the negative. Now, I focus on the positive, on what I can do. Did this dream change the world? Probably not, but it changed me.

I’m not saying you will succeed if you put aside Can’t. I’m saying you can’t succeed if you don’t.

About the Author

Ken La Salle

Ken La Salle

You can find out more about Ken La Salle at Climbing Maya, An Exploration Into Success by Ken La Salle is now available from all major e-tailers by Solstice Publishing  You can also find The Worth of Dreams/The Value of Dreamers, a compilation of Ken La Salle’s first year withRecovering the Self with plenty of bonus content, available as an e-book from all major e-tailers and coming soon as an audio book.

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0 thoughts on “‘Canning’ Can’t”

  1. Julie says:

    Bravo, Ken! Another positive inspirational read! A great reminder to all of those little voices inside of us that we CAN follow our dreams! Thank you for your voice : ) Julie

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