As a younger man I was a dancer and while I no longer have the physique, I still retain a lot of the ideals and sensibilities I was taught by my dance teachers.
My ballet teacher taught me to conduct myself with poise and hold my head high, even when my grand plié went astray and my toes weren’t out enough.
My tap teacher taught me you can have a great time making a lot of ordered noise, and also how to make my own tap shoes for my overly large feet.
My jazz teacher taught me the that a gangly tall 16 year old could still do some amazing moves and keep it up for hours.
But the one thing that sticks with me more than anything came from the Director of the dance school. He came into the room during a class while I was bitching that I couldn’t do the splits.
“I can’t do that” I told my teacher. And Ross was across the room, slapping me upside the head in an instant.
“You what?” Ross asked.
“I can’t do the splits, never have been able to.” I replied while rubbing my head.
Whack, another slap to the head.
“Remember this”, said Ross, “there is no such word as CAN’T. There is only ‘I am not yet able to’.”
And I have to say, that is a principle I have lived by since that very moment.
I’m still not yet able to do the splits, but there are a lot of things I can do because I stopped using a useless word.