I Can’t = I Won’t

The word “can’t is a very absolute word, meaning that when we believe that we can’t do something there is absolutely zero chance of it occurring.  Sometimes in life it is appropriate and accurate to say, “I can’t,” like if someone asked you to jump 30 feet off the ground, or make yourself invisible.  Obviously humans cannot do those things, so it makes sense to say I can’t in those situations.  But how many times in life have you said “I can’t,” but really what you meant was I don’t know if I can do it or not?

While it might seem like a small difference between “I can’t” and “I don’t know,” the difference is actually quite big.  Remember, “can’t” is absolute; it means that under no condition whatsoever could you do something.  Applying this to pool, sure there are tough shots on the table at any given time, but are they always impossible?  Difficult is one thing, but impossible is another, and herein is the place where words matter.  Rather than being 100% confident that you can’t do something, why not instead say to yourself that yes, this is a very difficult shot, but I have made tough shots in the past and if I hit this right I might do it again here.

Can’t = Won’t

A technique I use with clients at my office is to have them substitute “I won’t” every time they say “I can’t.”  Why?  Because saying I can’t actually result in the same outcome as I won’t, even if it is more difficult to say it that way – and that’s actually the point.  As humans, we don’t usually like to say I won’t do something because it sounds as though it is a choice, whereas saying I can’t makes it seem like you simply do not have the ability, no matter how hard you think or try.  

When we say I won’t do something, it makes us think more about why, as well as conjures up self-pride prompting us to take more control of the situation.  On the other hand saying I can’t relieves you of even trying – so why try??  The best pool players do he confidence, focus, and creativity trying to make the best out of every tough situation.

Final thoughts

When we stop using words like “can’t” and instead say I can, it improves our focus and lets our creative mind take over and look for ways to solve the shot in question.  Try to approach every shot with the same exciting energy and look for every way possible to be successful.  Why tell yourself you can’t do something, and therefore eliminate any chance for success?