Not In Our Vocabulary


Can’t. It’s a word we insist our athletes never use. But it’s one we often hear when things get tough or when athletes are faced with new challenges.

In the Western classic “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” Clint Eastwood growls, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” This is one of my favorite movie quotes, but one I no longer agree with. Limitations are defined as “a condition of limited ability; failing or quitting.”

By using the word “can’t,” we’ve acknowledged defeat before making a single attempt—we’ve told ourselves it’s okay to quit without even trying. As athletes, this is unacceptable. As CrossFitters, it’s a major faux pas.

We’ve all heard stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. For them, it seems, there is no such phrase as “I can’t.” So what makes them different than those who choose to use such a self-defeating term?

A close friend once told me “animals don’t know when to quit.” I found something truly inspiring in this statement. How can I become more primal? What does nature know that I don’t?

Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Discouragement, fear, and negativity often hold us back from fulfilling our purpose and following our passion. Focus. Determination. Patience. These are the things required to succeed. There’s something inherently powerful in the phrase “I can.”

The only person who can tell you ‘you can’t’ is you. And you don’t have to listen. So remove “can’t” from your vocabulary. You may not have all the tools to accomplish “______” right now, but you certainly have the power to achieve anything you set your mind to.