The “Why Not” Method — a post inspired by Victor of Juno College Cohort 30
When I was younger I wasn’t what I would consider to be a dreamer. Of course, I often imagined a beautiful future filled with travel and fun. I knew I wanted to be wealthy and I, like so many of us, felt strongly that I would feel accomplishment through making an impact; but, how that impact was to be made was a mystery to me and frankly, not something I even bothered to consider as much as one who wants to make an impact should.
Thinking this way often put me in situations where I would hear of someones excellent accomplishments — be it a friend, or Elon Musk — and I’d immediately think, “I can’t do that”. It is unlikely that I am going to design a rocket ship and I’m aware I’m not the only one who has experienced self-doubt or even the current buzz term: Imposter Syndrome but, that is the purpose of this article.
For all who have ever felt the infamous, “I can’t do that”, I am here to ask you, WHY NOT?
To understand the Why Not Method we must first understand the more widely known, “I can’t do that” method. This is a method that’s been adopted by all of us for one reason or another. Those reasons might include:
Fear — Fear of failure, fear to even try at all, fear to leave your current place of comfort, fear of judgement.
Indolence — You’re lazy, its not worth the trouble, very closely tied with the next reason…
Perpetual Procrastination — Now isn’t the time, I don’t have the time, I will get to it, I need to focus on what I’m doing for now.
“I can’t do that” is an escape, a cop out, a justification to oneself to protect your delicate psyche.
Now I’d like to briefly introduce you to Victor (briefly, because I haven’t asked him if he’d be okay with me writing this article). Victor is a modest gentleman who shared an excellent story about his life and a way of thinking that he adopted at some point during his journey. I have thought about it every day since and how has and hasn’t applied to my life.
Victor reached a stage in his life where he started asking questions — not like “does the government really have our best interest in mind?” — but more like, “Am I happy with my lifestyle?” and, “Is this sustainable?”. Without telling you his whole story, he decided to make some changes. And I cannot speak to exactly what his process was to change the way he thought about “I can’t do that”, you’ll have to ask him yourself. However I can tell you that he adopted the “Why Not” Method.
At some point Victor started looking at things he wanted — or even vaguely found interest in — differently. He started looking at things that most of us would have immediately cast our “I can’t do that” safety net over and instead thought, “Why Not?”. Why can’t he get in shape? Why can’t he break dance? Why can’t he perform the intense physical feats of a gymnast? I understand the examples I’ve given are purely physical but believe me when I tell you, it does not matter. My most recent why not was learning to code and make a career pivot at 28 years old, which is actually how I met Victor — who was doing the same.
People say, “You don’t know until you try”, and they’re right. Of course the same people likely have used the “I can’t” method, but we are only human. The main idea is that you are the only thing in the way. Don’t have time? Make time. Scared to fail? You don’t need to post it on Instagram, plus there is no success without failure and there is no shame in trying. This part of the post is starting to turn into a list of clichés, but this is the reality.
Regardless of what you believe in, your time here is limited and if you do not actively pursue things that you want, they won’t happen for you (99.9% of the time). Do not become a victim of your own mental prison, do something uncomfortable, do not wait, you’ll thank me and you’ll thank Victor for it.
So I ask you, next time you see something that interests you and daydream about yourself doing that thing but then unconsciously regurgitate that typical “I can’t” — stop yourself and ask “Why not?”. Most importantly, be honest with yourself when you do this. Can you “not” do this because you actually are incapable? — And I mean this is absolutely impossible, not this is going to be fucking hard. Or might it be for one of the reasons above, or any other reason you’ve allowed your feeble mind to generate.
My goal is not to attack you, but rather to push you. Give the “Why Not” method a try, OR, sit back and do nothing while Victor and I are out here feeling great, doing back flips and coding web applications.