I Can’t vs I Can: A Lesson From Fridge Jam

Craft fairs and farmers’ markets leave me with a sense of awe at the creative products that come naturally from local artisans. Whether it is homemade jam or knitted caps, artist demonstrate the end result of an idea that popped into their head and was transformed into reality.

I often leave the aisles of vendors thinking, “I can’t do that. I wish I was that creative.”

Or I should say . . . I used to.

Some people call it the “law of attraction” or “the secret.” Others believe we are what we think. For me, it comes down to a quote from Henry Ford:

If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, youre right. – Henry Ford

I believe each of us has the power to write our life story. It starts with the words we say to ourselves. The mental record we have on repeat.

“Can’t” isĀ  a tricky word for it tells you what your limitations are without really evaluating your skills and experience. It creates doubt where belief should reside. Belief in your ability to learn, adapt, change and grow. “Can’t” installs the ceilings on your creativity — without consulting you, the architect. It puts you in the role of victim of circumstance rather than the hero of your story.

And, as humans, we have the mad skill of finding what we “can’t do” twelve times faster than the belief that we can.

Is it possible to delete a word from your inner dialogue. I’m working on outlawing “I can’t.”

Instead of, “I can’t” or “why can’t I do something creative/adventurous/etc,” I have started wondering how I could accomplish something. How CAN I do that?

Homemade Refridgerator Jam - I Can't vs I CanI have always depended upon other people to provide locally made jam for our bed and breakfast. It made sense. That is their craft. This is what they do. Their creative outlet. I was happy to outsource.

However, I was inspired one day by the leftover strawberries I had in the freezer and a “do something with me” stalk of rhubarb in my garden. Surely, I could make a small batch of jam? Shouldn’t be hard?

How can I do that?

I tossed the berries into a pan; added a bit of sugar, some lemon juice and apple shreds. Cooked it down . . . and voila! I had homemade refrigerator jam using my ingenuity and available resources.

The fine line between what you can’t do and what you can is nothing more than a starting line. Try. Take the first step. Believe you can. Write your own mental script.

You can do it.

5 thoughts on “I Can’t vs I Can: A Lesson From Fridge Jam

  1. I think I was lucky that whenever I said “can’t”, my parents replied with, “There’s no such thing as can’t!” At the time, I couldn’t tell if that just made me feel even more defeated or not, but now, as an adult, I appreciate their message more and I try to live by it. You go, girl! YOU CAN JAM!!!


  2. When I am honest with myself, usually when I say “I Can’t” I really mean “I don’t want to”. Examples: I can’t change a flat tire. I can’t drive in heavy traffic.

    But when I say “I can’t throw a ball” it is real. One time I actually had to dodge a rock I pitched at a cow. I wanted the rock to land in the river next to her making a splash so she would move toward the land so she would join the herd as we moved them to the next pasture. Instead I was trying to scramble over wet, mossy rocks to avoid being hit on the head.


    1. Wow! That’s quite the tale! But I’m with you on the “can’t” means “don’t want to.” I think I have a hard time on occasion taking ownership and point the finger elsewhere rather than acknowledge outwardly my lack of enthusiasm. Working on it.


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