Three Little Words

February 07, 2011

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m learning natural horsemanship techniques so that I can be a better leader to my horse and have a closer bond with him. While watching one of the Parelli Level 1 DVDs recently, something one of the instructors said resonated with me. She posed the question, when someone asks you if you can do something you’ve never done before, especially something hard or scary, what should you say? Her answer:

“I don’t know.”

Not “I can’t.”

Because, really, you don’t yet know if you can do it or not, because you haven’t tried. You don’t know what is possible.

Some other alternatives she came up with included: I haven’t up until now. I haven’t done that yet. In the past, I haven’t tried that.

These phrases leave the door open, instead of slamming it shut with an “I can’t.” I’ve found “I don't know” very helpful when I’m offered the chance to do something that scares me. I don’t always rise to the challenge—but sometimes I do.

What are some things you say to yourself when faced with a challenge?

What's to be scared of?

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  1. I've no idea if I can do that....but I think I can!

    Let's rock and roll!

    Roll with it!

    and the old fall back...

    Ah, hell, let's just get it over with it!

  2. ...give me some chocolate...then let's do it! Actually, It's taken me a while to get over my fear of doing new things, but mostly I'm good. Traveling by myself still has me nervous though...

    p.s. I love the photo of your beautiful horse!

  3. I've tried to train myself over the years to be more like The Little Engine That Could: "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!" ;)

    That said, I really love the phrase you introduced, "I haven't done that *yet*." This one's going into my personal phrasebook, Kathy. It sounds so wonderful and full of potential. I think I should think this way about everything on my interior wish list that seems too distant or way too big to be possible.

    Isn't it wonderful how you can take a lesson from one of your passions and expand it to help transform the rest of your life? Awesome.

  4. Laure--I knew you'd have good things to say to yourself!

  5. Kelly--Chocolate is a great motivator! I think it would help me get over my fears, too :).

  6. Meredith--Sometimes even the smallest pause--the "yet" keeps me from shutting down on possibilities. I use it all the time with the horse, because really I am a big chicken about trying new things with him--actually, I should say I'm extra cautious, because it takes so long to heal if you make a big mistake! I've learned so much about life in general from working with him and taking care of him.