You Can’t or You Won’t?

Puerto Vallarta sunset

I’m always drawing inspiration from everything around me.

Whether it’s inherently good or bad, I have to find a takeaway from it.

Today two things came together to form the basic idea for the post.

The first is from the cartoon show, Archer. The show centers around the main character, Archer, an awful yet skilled spy agent that always manages to succeed in pulling off outlandish missions. Most of the time he’s inebriated and trying to hook up with women. In several episodes he asks something outrageous of some of the characters and when they say they, “Can’t” his response is “you Can’t or you Won’t?”

The second thing was from a conversation with a female friend of mine. I asked to see if she wanted to go out the coming up weekend. I had an extra ticket to a show so it was a specific day and time. The conversation centers around her not being able to go (no).

I initially mentioned the time a week in advance.

When I first brought it up, she mentioned a co-worker who may cover, she just needed to check. Things were looking good. When I followed up a couple of days later,¬† the response was a statement telling me that she had the day before the show off and that she didn’t know if she could get two days off, followed by a sad face.

Whether she pursued to get it covered or not doesn’t matter. I had an answer and could begin looking for somebody else to take.

As soon as I read her message (damn txting) I couldn’t help but have the multiple scenes from the cartoon pop into my head of Archer angrily asking, “You can’t or you won’t!?”

Can’t implies exactly that, Can Not. Won’t or Will Not is quite different. That’s a personal decision.

The way the scenario played out in my head, it was more of a “won’t” rather than a “can’t”.

It started an entire chain of events in my head…

When it comes to my life how do I approach certain things?

How often do I convince myself that I can’t when in reality it’s simply that I won’t?

As an example:

A few days ago I set my alarm for 6:30AM to go for a run at sunrise. The previous night I had stayed up reading, writing and watching a couple of episodes of Orange is the New Black.

When my alarm went off, a few hours after I fell asleep, I told myself that I can’t run because I lacked a full night of sleep and rest would do me better. Whether that’s true or not I don’t really know, but it seemed like sound logic.

In reality, I could have¬† woken up,stretched and went for brisk jog. It was never, “I can’t”. It was my will or lack thereof to not get up and run.

These thoughts and scenarios started exploding in my head.

Did I willingly not write?
Was I really unable to hang out with a friend? Did I seriously not have time to make that call?
Did the kids really not give Trix to the silly rabbit? ; )

How many things have I not done because I convince myself that I can’t?

Out of those, were there situations that I honestly didn’t want to follow through on and was I honest with myself about it?

Finally, and most importantly, How many of those “can’t” situations involve me simply failing to execute and thus letting myself down?

I believe that success comes from commitment and execution.

It’s something I think I’ve lost sight of in the recent months. At this point I should have been caught up with posts and videos, but I’ve only been slowly chipping away at them.

I want to attribute it to being back and going through another round of Post Travel Depression. This happened last year after I got back from a backpacking trip. I stayed in, was irritable and didn’t want to be around many people.

Being completely honest with myself, it’s an excuse. It’s me saying I won’t. It’s me failing to commit and follow through.

Funny how little things can bring up realizations.

I’m hoping to start a change where I can say “I can’t” when I honestly can’t and “I won’t” when I simply don’t want to.


Do you ever think about things like this? Do you ever tell yourself you can’t do something when it’s just a failure to commit? Would love to talk to you guys in the comments below!







  1. says

    Yes! I think about this kind of thing all the time! I’ve been dealing with depression/mood swings for years now, which is part of the reason I even started my blog. I wanted something to keep me grounded and active on my lowest of days.

    This past semester I challenged myself to take 5 classes. I was terrified, thinking “I CAN’T do this,” because I was just so stuck in that mentality. But I stuck with it and pushed myself, and what this semester taught me is that sometimes there are obstacles in your way….and sometimes, you’re the one who put them there.

    Thanks for this post, it really struck a chord with me

  2. says

    Even though it’s neglected at times, I think my blog has been a great outlet for thoughts. It’s very comforting being able to put something out and then connect with people even if it’s only one or two people.

    “and sometimes, you’re the one who put them there.” I love that. haha I constantly do this to myself. Growing up I would sign myself up for things, or commit to things that I didn’t know if I could do. It was a way to force myself to try new things and prove to myself that I could. I would put obstacles in my own way, hate myself, then realize I had it in me the entire time.

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