Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Step 2 – There’s no such word as Can’t

Day 2 of the National Blog Post Month challenge where I’m writing a blog post every day along the theme of 30 Steps to Happiness and Contentment.

From an early age I always knew I had my limits.  There were certain things I just couldn’t do.  I suppose you could say I’d been brought up to know my limitations and I did (or so I thought). 

When I met my husband all this changed.  Here’s a man who believes there are no limits, for him there is no such word as “can’t”. I didn’t believe him at first, in fact it took about 9 years until I started to realise he might just be right.  I can remember the turning point for me and here’s how it happened.

I was 27 and Gary was 31, we’d been married 6 years and our two eldest children were aged 4 and 3 months.  He was in his first year at University studying for a BSc in Landscape Management.  He came home one day excited about the announcement of an opportunity to gain a Travel Bursary.  The Bursary was open to all students and the entrants had to come up with an interesting project, which required overseas travel.  The best entrants would be shortlisted and invited to give a presentation to a panel of people who would then offer a bursary of £900 to the most impressive project.  Gary had an idea to go seed collecting in China.  He’d heard of a particular variety of Acer that is only found in one specific remote part of China and he wanted to try and find it.  I can remember thinking he was mad – the chances of him winning were next to nothing, but I knew by now what he was like when he got an idea in his head and so I did all I could to support him with his application.  A few weeks later, I was surprised to learn his entry had been shortlisted to the final 8 and we had to prepare a presentation for him to give to the panel.  I still didn’t think he’d actually win, so when he came home after the day of his presentation and told me he had been awarded the Bursary, I couldn’t believe it!  It was a real awakening for me.  Up until that point I had always humoured his wild ideas and thought he was a bit of a dreamer - things like that don’t happen to ordinary people like us.  But, his winning against the odds, made me realise that if you want something badly enough, there really isn’t any reason why you can’t go for it and you may just get what you want!  We all have just as much chance as the next person in realising our dreams, you just have to believe and make the effort to attain them. 

Thinking about it now I find it hard to believe that I was so negative back then, so scared to branch out and take a chance, so sure of failure before we’d even started.  Had he listened to me he wouldn’t even have tried and would never have had the wonderful and life changing experiences he did.

I suppose that this realisation played a large part in my accepting that it is possible to live outside of the box.  We didn’t have to follow the same pattern as everyone else and maybe, just maybe, we could actually realise our dream of living abroad one day - which is exactly what we did. 

Here's my other posts in this series:
Step 30 - The Key to Happiness and Contentment
Step 29 -You are the master of your own destiny
Step 28 - Don't give up on a good relationship
Step 27 - Don't Judge , Live and let live
Step 26 - Don't Worry, by happy
Step 25 - Never give up
Step 24 - Get by with a little help from your friends
Step 23 - Go with the Flow
Step 22 - Enjoy the moment
Step 21 - Love what you do
Step 20 - Forgive and Forget
Step 19 - Unconditional giving
Step 18 - Smile and the world smiles with you
Step 17 - Work to live, don't live to work
Step 16 - Surround yourself with Positive People
Step 15 - Always look on the bright side of life
Step 14 - Where there's a will there's a way
Step 13 - Silence is Golden
Step 12 - Feed your Soul
Step 11 - Follow your Dreams
Step 10 - Use your time wisely
Step 9 - Don't be too hard on yourself
Step 8 - Consider what you value most
Step 7 - Find time for Yourself
Step 6 - Make time for Family and Friends
Step 5 - Don't take yourself too Seriously
Step 4 - Feel the Fear and do it Anyway
Step 3 - Love what you Hate
Step 2 - There's no such word as CAN''T
Step 1 - Find the Best in Every DayDay 1 - Find the best in every day


  1. What a lovely positive post. With the right sort of determination (and the right back up) it certainly is possible to achieve just about anything!

  2. You're so right that belief in possiblity can be bred out of us, my mum's habitual response is "no" or "can't" and I'm still going through the process of getting rid of it in my psyche..... and most importantly passing on to my kids a can do attitude. My turning points were 1) living in NZ where a "British" attitude just isn't tolerated and 2) doing NLP which has changed my attitude beyond belief. Great 2nd post, you'll get to the end easily ;-)

  3. Thanks Sarah, it's amazing what we can achieve if we set our minds to it and believing we 'can' is the first step.

  4. I've read your words - now I shall try to internalize them. I think this is such an important lesson to learn, I just haven't... yet.

  5. That's just the message I needed to read tonight. I'm generally very positive, but sometimes have my huge moments of doubt. Thank you. Great post. So glad Cafe Bebe retweeted it. Good luck with the rest of the NoBloPoMo :)

  6. @Fiona interesting they don't tolerate a 'British' attitude in NZ. I hadn't really thought of it being a British trait, but I suppose you're right. Many other nations seem to have a naturally more positive attitude to what they can achieve in life.

  7. @ Kirsty thanks for the encouragement :)

    @ Midlife Singlemum. It is an important lesson and has made such a difference to my life - that's not to say that I don't waiver sometimes, I'm only human after all!

  8. @ Almost Mrs Average glad you found me and enjoyed the post. Thanks :)

  9. This is a great post! Well done you for reaching that realisation.

    I think I irritate my family by thinking that way - nothing is impossible - I always expect things to work out and go my way. I think what irritates them most is that I'm so often right!

    I think my expecting things to work out rubs off on other people!

  10. Yes I think it might be contagious Elizabeth - lets hope so! ;)

  11. Hi Nikki, what a lovely post! I have made my way over here from Happy Homemaker UK and will be back!
    Jo :)

  12. Thanks for stopping by Jo, glad you enjoyed it and thanks for following :)

  13. Found you through PotMC. Great post, since I'm a forestry geek I was waiting to hear more about the maple... Fellow expat in France

  14. What a fantastic story! I love that he was a plant hunter - does he still do that today (I think you own a nursery, but not sure if cultivating your own?). Did he find the acer? I need more!

    Thank you for linking up to Post Of The Month Club! It is great to have you there ;) XOLaura