How. That’s the word.
Let’s say you want to try something new, take on a new way of doing something, or work through a personal challenge. You might ask yourself “Can I”?
At this point you will search your history for previous attempts at anything and everything, successes and failures, and of course remind yourself of your personal shortcomings. All yes/no, ego-based thinking as you contemplate the decision.
But if the question you ask yourself is “How can I”, then you are in problem solving mode. Your creative side chimes in. You are present in the moment, engaged with possibility, and focused on a solution rather than a question of success or failure.
“Can I fit exercise into my schedule” may lead you to doubt, based on past failures despite a strong desire to make it happen. And with our built-in negativity bias, this is not a great place to start.
“How can I fit exercise into my life” may lead you to discover the time in your schedule that would work or a friend who may join you. That sounds far more positive.
“How can I accomplish this” vs. “Can I accomplish this”.
“How can I get through this” vs. “Can I get through this”.
“How can I make this work” vs. “Can I make this work”.
The inventors of WD-40 failed thirty-nine times before finding the winning formula. They were focused on How, and they found thirty-nine ways that didn’t work.
Thomas Edison is quoted as saying “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.
One word. How much discovery and growth could it bring about for you? Change the questions you ask yourself and see.