Test Your Can’ts


“You never fail until you stop trying.”  — Albert Einstein

Test your cant’s — actually, try and prove you can’t do it.

I think the name says it all.  “Test” what you think you can’t do, rather than just “think” you can’t do it.

This technique is about putting your negative thoughts to the test.

In Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, David Burns writes about testing your cant’s.

Test One Step at a Time

Rather than bite off the whole enchilada, Burns says that you should build incremental success.

Via Feeling Good:

“An extremely successful cognitive technique involves testing your negative predictions with actual experiments. Suppose for example, you’ve been telling yourself:

‘I’m so upset that I can’t concentrate well enough to read anything at all.’

As a way of testing this hypothesis, sit down with today’s newspaper and read one sentence, and then see if you can summarize the sentence out loud.

You might then predict — ‘But I could never read and understand a whole paragraph.’

Again — put this to the test. Read a paragraph and summarize.

Many severe, chronic depressions have been cracked open with this powerful method.”

Key Take Aways

Here are my key take aways:

  • Test your cant’s. Rather than just think you can’t do something, prove it.
  • Test one step a time. Rather than test the big picture, break it down into small hurdles and test one part at a time.

I like this technique!

Rather than just think you can’t do something, try and prove it.

Test yourself and you may be pleasantly surprised.

Have you tested one of your can’ts lately?

Photo by antmoose