A couple of years ago, the Boston Marathon promoted its event with a series of inspiring billboards. All of them were black and white images of a runner, with a quote that expressed their reason for running. Some billboards were of fully mobile individuals and others were of those who were disabled but were determined to cross the finish line, either through a family member’s or friend’s assistance, or through the use of a prosthetic device. Each had different quotes, but one in particular really stood out: the runner’s response was simple…“Because I can.”
As kids, the “Little Engine who could” told us a valuable tale of an extraordinary spirit…of perseverance…of determination…of believing in ourselves. As adults, we don’t always have tales to teach us these valuable lessons. And, as a result we start making excuses. We stop learning. We stop trying.
‘Because I can’ eliminates these excuses. It pushes us past the status quo and our comfort zones. It gives us a reason to do the things that we think we can’t. And, it enables us to believe in ourselves.
Practicing ‘Can’ thinking is important to keeping us young, to having a positive outlook, to staying motivated and to reaching our goals. Further, it can help us lead richer and fuller lives that are more rewarding. The fact that you have the ability to do something empowers you to do it, whatever the task might be.
How can you use the power of ‘Because I can’? Here are a few ways to incorporate this positive thinking into various aspects of your own life:
- Be More Active: Whether it is to get to the store or work, or if it is climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator, embracing a ‘Because I can’ attitude is an easy way to incorporate more activity into your life. Break the ‘I’m tired’ or ‘It is too hard’ or ‘It is too far’ cycle. Increasing your activity level will provide enormous benefits, both physically and mentally.
- Try Something New: It is easy for us to make excuses for why we shouldn’t try new things. Maybe you think it is out of your comfort zone. Maybe it seems too difficult. Or maybe, it is just inconvenient. Reminding yourself that ‘You Can’ try something new will help you to move past these roadblocks and discover new things about yourself and possible new interests.
- Reach for the Stars: No matter how old you are, setting new goals and continually dreaming makes life more interesting and rewarding. Whether it is professionally or personally, find new ways to stretch yourself, to learn and to grow. Pushing yourself to be the best you can be will give you a sense of accomplishment. Further, you’ll never feel bored.
- Speak Up: Often, we can become complacent in our lives, going through a routine and not addressing things that bother us or make us unhappy. You have a voice. Use that voice ‘because you can’. Communicating to loved ones, co-workers and even your boss as to how you feel, what your needs and expectations are and what you are thinking can help you develop deeper, more meaningful and rewarding relationships. Further, you will be truer to yourself, inevitably making you a happier individual.
- Go the Extra Mile: No, you don’t have to be a marathon runner to incorporate this slogan into your exercise routine. But, when you are at the end of your thirty minute aerobic workout, try going an extra ten minutes ‘Because you can.’ You’ll empower yourself to push beyond the ‘status quo.’ Additionally, you will strengthen your heart and burn off the cheesecake from the night before.
- Increase Your Willpower: Saying ‘No’ to our favorite indulgences can be challenging. However, developing a strong willpower, whether it is in response to our favorite chocolate cake or to over-shopping and spending past our means is something that we can all benefit from. Next time you are tempted to do something you think you might regret, try reminding yourself that you ‘can’ say no. YOU have the power.
The human spirit can be very fragile, but incorporating positive thinking, such as ‘Because I can,’ while, eliminating ‘because I can’t’ from your thought processes, can be very powerful.
Do you have any techniques that motivate you to step out of your comfort zone and move beyond the status quo? What inspires you?