A saying I really don’t like

Did you ever hear someone say

If you say “I can” or “I can’t” you’re right


Well, I think this is a terrible saying. Why?

First, it’s not true.  You can say:

I can play basketball like Michael Jordan.

You can even believe you can play basketball like Michael Jordan.  But you can’t.

And I, personally, have had instances where, practically in the middle of saying “I can’t” I did.

Second, it’s demeaning.  It insults people.  There are lots of things y0u can’t do.  To try to pretend that the reason you can’t do them is because you think you can’t is a way of blaming you for your inability.


  1. I’ve often found this used in pop-psychology and the so-called “positive psychology” that is really nothing more than thinly veiled ableism and victim blaming. A person who is paralyzed from the waist down cannot walk–it has nothing to do with their belief in their abilities. When I’ve pointed this out to others, I get a lot of defensiveness in return. Great post!

  2. Thanks. Anne!

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