Arthur C. Brooks – “People flourish when they earn their own success.”
I think he is right and that means the words “I can’t” are an obstacle. What’s worst of all is they are almost always self-inflected words. Typically we say “I can’t” when what is really happening is “I won’t” or “That’s too hard,” or “I don’t want to work that hard,” or any number of other variations. Think about it, even that rock that is way beyond human ability to lift can be lifted with the correct application of engineering and tools and teamwork. People lift the unliftable every day. Mankind has walked on the moon for crying out loud! “I can’t” is an excuse because with enough energy and effort I can.
So why do we say and hear those words, “I can’t” so often? I think there are two reasons.
First reason – we would rather deceive ourselves than admit we lack sufficient wherewithal to see whatever it is through to the end. Even though we can do anything, sometimes we have to recruit a team to do it, and that means admitting we need other people. In the end that is what we do not want to face, that we are not sufficient to the task all by ourselves.
Yet if Brooks is right the greatest effect of this self-deception is that we limit our happiness and flourishing. That seems an awful trade to me, that we limit our happiness for the sake of our solidarity. Which leads me to the second reason we hear those words “I can’t” so often.
The second reason we say those words so often is we turn to other people for the team we need forgetting who is really the head of the team. It is a sad fact of life that people will always disappoint us on some level. But the head of the team won’t ever.
Consider Phil 4:13 – “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Things work better when God is the head of the team, not us – God.
When we work through God the words “I can’t” cease to exist.