I am now going to give you a golden rule which is the essential first step towards removing I-Can't from your dictionary:
This may seem like a small rule, but believe me, it brings BIG results. By observing this rule, you train your subconscious into believing that you can do ANYTHING at all, which indeed you can. Plenty of other people will try to tell you that you CAN'T do something, there is no need to add your voice to the throng.
How does this work in practice?
First of all, you have to become aware when putting yourself down in conversation. I used to make negative comments about myself all the time, nowadays, one rarely slips past me without me catching it.
This is the sort of comment that I am talking about:
"I'd love to enter the London Marathon, but I haven't got the stamina, besides I don't have enough will-power to get out of bed for the daily training."
"Go dancing with you? Have you seen me dance? It's not a pleasant sight!"
"Can you do this for me? I'm useless at practical things like that."
How often do you put yourself down like that? Even once is too often! You are going to put a stop to it right now.
Here's a little tip which I used when I first started to watch my language: Because the negative habit was so ingrained in me, I would often get half way through a self-critical sentence before I realised what I was doing. To stop in mid-flow would have sounded very odd to the listener, so I used to finish the sentence and THEN CORRECT IT. Sometimes even saying the opposite thing, all in one breath! Here's an example:
"Go skiing with you? have you ever seen me do anything like that? I'm absolutely useless at sports (pause)... however, there are plenty of people worse than me and I know that I can learn things quickly, so why not?"
"Chess? Sorry, I can't play. (Pause) What am I saying? Of course I can play, I'm probably very rusty but I'll give you a good run for your money."
You won't get away without your comment sounding a little strange, but this won't go on for very long as you learn to catch yourself BEFORE you speak the damning words.
I ought to clarify what we are trying to achieve. You don't have to DO anything which you don't want to do. In the skiing example, if you genuinely don't want to go skiing because you have something more exciting to do, then this method doesn't mean that you have to go. It DOES mean that you go if the only thing holding you back was lack of I-Can belief. It also means that regardless of whether you want to do the thing or not, you NEVER put yourself down, or use an I-Can't excuse as a reason for not doing it.
Here's how to respond if you genuinely don't want to go:
"Skiing? I'm useless at anything like that. (Pause) Actually, that's a lie, I'm as good as anyone else when it comes to sport; I'd love to come but I've already booked up for this amazing week of yoga..." (Go on to describe the course you have enrolled for.)
Never use phrases like these:
"It's all right for you but..."
"I could never do that..."
"I never had a chance..."
Instead, say things like:
"If he/she can do it, so can I..."
"I could do that..."
"Look at all the opportunities open to me."
Again, these things SOUND simple but they really are effective.
It only took me a few weeks to radically change my negative speech habits into positive ones. I still say the occasional negative thing, but I am ALWAYS aware of it and make the effort to correct it. I now have a slight advantage over you because, having written a book like this, everyone will expect me to be positive for every waking moment of my life; woe betide me if I let the odd negative comment slip out!
When I started to apply this technique I was totally amazed at how often I was being negative about myself and the situation, without even realizing it. In the beginning I had to correct myself about five times a day! Now it is about once a month.