#19 – The CAN’T vs WON’T Filter Test

I find myself sat with a mentor giving a perfectly rational explanation for why I didn’t do the thing I was unposed to do:

“I couldn’t do that because of x, y, z…”

She paused just long enough to make me consider what I’d said before looking me dead in the eye and enquiring:

“Couldn’t or wouldn’t?”

Cue more dead air that I was happy to fill.

“No, you see I can’t do the thing because…..”

She interjects.

“Can’t or WON’T?” 

Silence…..tension……which she eventually breaks with a mischievous knowing smile and an opening of the hands which if I was to verbalise would go something like:

“I know this is uncomfortable, but it’s for your own good, you need to hear this.”

There’s nothing like a pertinent question and well-timed silence to get you thinking.

I can’t even remember what I was supposed to have done. I’m betting it was something trivial that I was avoiding by making up a bunch of excuses.

The lesson I took from that session is the ‘Can’t vs Won’t Filter’.

If there’s something that you want but can’t seem to attain, start running the filter e.g.

A) I can’t lose weight.   

Or is it actually…..

B) I won’t change my diet.

Another example:

A) I can’t exercise, I don’t have time.

When you really mean…..

B) I won’t exercise, I’m unwilling to prioritise physical activity above Netflix.

It’s completely fine to eat shit and live like a sloth but own it. 

Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re overweight because you’re a genetic outlier that doesn’t respond to dieting.

Don’t blame your lack of exercise on your inexplicably busy diary.

If you’re going to change your lifestyle for the better it’ll require effort. 

An effort that you CAN make.

There is no can’t.

You either can and will…

….or you won’t.