Home > Business, Examples > I Can’t or I Won’t

I Can’t or I Won’t

garyClean your room!
I keep trying new ways to get my girls to clean their rooms. I don’t even know why anymore… maybe it’s a challenge or some sick game that bonds us. Whether it’s clean your room, have this report completed by noon, meet this show deadline, etc. the list of stuff that must be done is endless! Here come the excuses, from inside our homes, the workplace or even within our own heads. I CAN’T DO THAT. Phooey – I WONT DO THAT! If not said out loud, it’s shown passively via inaction.

What happened to that old fashioned Can-Do Attitude?
If you look in the right places, it still exists today. Too often, we can’t or maybe won’t before we even try. But there is hope. The solution, in part at least, is empowerment. Breaking it down even further, the can’t is often a default response rooted in resisting change. Resisting change is a result of fear and a strong human desire to control our environment.

Controlling our environment
Control of our worldly experience is so important on different levels for different people.
In some extreme wacko cases, it extends to our desire to control the environment of those around us. There are some healthy, yet simple, control tools we can use to foster a can-do attitude in others or to spark one in ourselves.

  • Become part of, or make people a part of, any changes that effect them (remove the fear or the unknown). Clean your room and you will not guess what I threw out or found when I took the yard blower to the situation.
  • Empower decisions. In fact, require yourself or others to make timely decisions and then manage the results with reward for great choices; trouble shoot and avoid too much focus on those decisions that didn’t work out so well. Good choice to clean up before you go out this weekend, and what timing, I found the missing distributor cap for your car, which also needs to be cleaned out but I will ignore that.
  • Positive reinforcement of good decision-making breeds positive attitudes and increases our feelings of being in control. Too much reinforcement may breed an unhealthy level of expectation. Keep the few 1, 2, 3 – but all swim meet participation ribbons go in the trash.
  • Decide how much control you need or need to offer others… we all have individual needs and strengths. Not everyone needs more self-confidence! For example, a psychopath with a can-do attitude might not be a good thing. Yes, you can paint your room; no, it cannot be black with broken mirrors on the walls.

theme picSupport
Can-do is all about making decisions, understanding expectations and knowing that one has the support of those around them. People don’t make decisions to act and do things mainly because they don’t feel empowered by the support from those around them.

Some fall into the trap that it’s easier to just not do anything. The trap tricks one into the belief that if they move into action it will be more work for them alone and they will have to turn every bolt. Nothing great has ever been achieved without the support of others. When you feel the support of a team, family or community getting started is not so daunting and no task is too great. Not many of us have the training and expertise in all areas. Let your abstract thinking go wild, then turn to the experts. Sometimes though, what looks beyond our scope is unknown but simple to learn – don’t fear knowledge.

Don’t let others fear knowledge, wrong decisions or unknown consequences of making or carrying out unknown choices that could lead to greatness. Support yourself and others to risk failure and if you only occasionally are successful you have sparked a can-do attitude! The last expert-parenting book I didn’t read all the way through said to just shut the door to a messy teenagers room. Probably the best advice I took for daily sanity.

Oh no, I might have to Make Something
People are sometimes extremely fearful of sharing or doing because they might have to make something. We are a generation of people averse to learning how to make or do things ourselves. There is a great blog on this by Seth Shostak, SETI institute titled America’s “Can’t Do” Attitude.

I try to keep a can-do attitude by regularly reminding myself that it is our responsibility to make decisions based on our experiences and to seek council with experts in areas we are not; make the decision with the support of those around you; and have the confidence to fail, look for alternatives and try again. Don’t give up. You never know what you can do till you try.

I will keep trying to convince my teenage daughters to clean their rooms. If anyone knows how, please HELP!

Thanks for reading

About the Author
Gary Camarato is the Vice President of Marketing & Creative Development at Optima™ and has been in the Trade Show industry since 1992.

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