X-Pert Advice

Belief in Business. Can Do, or Can’t Do?

x pert advice

Belief in Business

Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, wrote, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Airplanes, space travel, lasers, the eradication of diseases, and even smart phones are evidence of the correctness of Hill’s observation.

But, Henry Ford reminded us, “If a man thinks he can do a thing or he thinks he cannot do a thing, he is right.”

Both observations are comments on the power of belief. And can be translated into belief in business.

What do you do when you attempt something and don’t initially achieve the results you are after? Do you think you can do it…and try again? Or do you think that you can’t do it and give up? If your beliefs are of the “can do” sort, you try again and again until you succeed. If they are of the “can’t do” sort…you know the answer.

We all started out with “can do” beliefs—or perhaps, it was simply an absence of “can’t do” beliefs. If that were not the case, few of us would have learned to walk, talk, feed ourselves, tie our shoelaces, read, write, or ride a two-wheel bicycle. From our “can do” beliefs, we eventually developed skills and ways of acting that shaped our lives…and continue to do so today.

The actions that we take frequently are eventually performed out of habit. We don’t consciously think about and then decide on each and every aspect of the action.

For instance, when driving a car, do you consciously think about stopping when approaching a red stop light, decide to press your foot on the brake pedal and modulate the pressure based on how quickly or slowly the car is decelerating…or do you just do it?

Tying a shoe lace is another example. Do you consciously think about forming one end of the lace into a loop and then wrapping the other end around it? Again, you just do it. You’ve developed unconscious competence which makes the analysis-decision-action process automatic and enables you to function efficiently.

If you want to break through those self-imposed barriers, you need only find current evidence that the tasks you’ve been avoiding can be accomplished. If others are successfully performing them, then in all likelihood, you can learn to perform them too. But that won’t happen until you consciously change your “can’t do” attitude to a “can do,” or at the least, a “give it another try” attitude.

To break out of your “can’t do” attitude, first, identify those activities you’ve programmed yourself to avoid—the ones that would add beneficial outcomes to your personal and professional life. Next, assess the outcomes that would result if you didn’t perform the tasks “expertly.” How much “damage” would be done? If the damage isn’t devastating (it rarely is), then there is no reason not to give it another try.

Here’s a little secret that should make transitioning from a “can’t do” to a “can do” attitude a bit easier: you don’t have to perform the tasks expertly; you only have to do them adequately. Doing them with any degree of proficiency is better than not doing them at all.

Giving yourself permission to perform a task “adequately” affords you the opportunity to at least get started—which is more than half the battle. And, it provides a path toward becoming an “expert.”

From each outcome, there’s likely to be something you can learn—something you could have done differently that would have resulted in a somewhat better outcome. Then, you can apply that knowledge to your next attempt. Each successive attempt gets you one step closer to “expert” status.

“One of the greatest discoveries a person makes, one of their great surprises, is to find they can do what they were afraid they couldn’t do.” ― Henry Ford

The belief in business.

The author, John Dobrowolsky is the owner of Sandler Training in Windsor, Ontario.