After weeks of snow and/or rain, a recent weekend’s blue skies and warm weather sent my family outside to jump start a bit of spring cleaning and yard maintenance. While the husband was busy reorganizing the garage, our eldest son decided that our house needed other improvements – specifically a large watch tower in the backyard.
He took a sheet of paper and drew out his plans including the placement of various construction equipment he felt would be needed to complete the build. As an aside, you know you are a mother of boys when you know the difference between a front loader and an excavator even though you’ve never set foot on a construction site.
He had been so proud of his creation that we did not want to crush his dreams right away, but as the sun began to set, our son became more and more anxious that his father hadn’t yet driven him over to “the construction store” to pick up the roller, cement mixer, and crane. My husband and I were at a loss as to how to handle the situation as we try hard not to resort to using “because I said so” unless absolutely necessary.
As a result, we tried to explain to him the many reasons why his plans weren’t going to become a reality any time soon. The construction store (whatever that was) was closed. Dad didn’t have proper licensing to drive the equipment. The large vehicles wouldn’t fit through the gate into the backyard. We would need to first apply to the city for proper building permits.
For each and ever reason we threw out, our son had a counter argument. We could go to the store the following day, dad could hire workers, and the watch tower could be built in the front yard.
The point of this story is this: it is nearly impossible to argue with someone about why something is not going to happen, or why something is never going to be available when that person has no concept of the word “can’t.”
In my office, there is a mystery person who randomly places motivational quotes up on the bulletin board. The most recent quote reads, “people who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.” – George Bernard Shaw
We are all born with a sense that there is nothing in this world that is impossible. We watch magicians perform their illusions with awe and wonder. It is only we “mature” that we stop watching the show for entertainment and instead spend the time at the show trying to figure out how to disprove the trick. Just imagine the feats we as a society might accomplish if we stopped accepting the “because I told you so.”
Instead, when faced with naysayers, what if we always remembered to look for alternatives, whether it be for business goals or personal interests. What if we changed the question from “why can’t I do this” to “what do I need to do this?”