Many years ago, my father gave me some of the wisest words I’ve ever heard. One of the things he said was, “People who want to succeed are more often held back by what’s behind them than what’s ahead of them.”

My human’s father is very wise in spite of being male.

Ignoring the parenting gender differences between cats and humans for a bit, let me throw out some thing’s I’ve said:

I can’t get to work earlier because my morning commute is too long, I need to get more sleep, I had to stop and get gas…

I can’t vacuum the bedroom floor because there’s too much stuff on it for me to move in the time available.

I can’t build my workbench because I can’t get enough time collected together in one place to actually DO it.

I can’t put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher because it’s full of clean dishes.

I can’t pay my debts because I don’t make enough money.

I can’t pay the medical bills.

I can’t afford a new car.


When I hear the word “Can’t”, more often than not I know I’m hearing an excuse. “Can’t” is the subconscious realization that translates to, “I screwed up earlier; now I don’t want to deal with it.”

Each excuse-“Can’t” is preventable and fixable.

Trouble getting to work on time? Get up 30 minutes earlier. Pre-pack your stuff for work as part of your going-to-bed routine – that will save you a good 10-15 minutes by itself. Go to bed an hour earlier so that you’re rested. Always gas up your car when it gets below half a tank on your way home from work. Seriously! Sleep deprivation will only put you in a doom-spiral as your health, performance, and ability to do work continuously degrade. Heck, getting more sleep will also reduce your emotional stress and give you back one of your most precious assets: The ability to think clearly.

Vacuuming around obstacles? Box up/bag your stuff and donate to charity. Set a day each week for you and your S.O. to do Clutter Control on a room. Dump it all into a box or storage bin, then put the box on the part of the bed that you sleep on. Now it’s contained and ready for you to sort through… after you’ve vacuumed.

Do NOT put cats in the box!

Problems collecting enough time to get a project done? Dedicate an entire day to it, and only do that thing. Tell everyone else you’re busy. If they keep interrupting, snarl at them (or if at work, tell them, “hang on a second”, and forget to acknowledge them until you’re done) unless it’s an emergency.

Dishwasher full of clean dishes? Empty it each morning during that time you get up 15 minutes earlier. Now it’s empty when you get home from work, waiting to be filled as the first thing you do when you walk into the kitchen.

Debts overwhelming you? Stop spending so much money, train up your skills, apply for a better paying job, and sell some of your stuff on eBay or Craigslist.

Doctor’s bills getting to expensive? Start asking for price lists and written price quotes in advance. That way you’ll know how much a diagnosis is going to cost. As for treatment, get the price quotes in writing again, apologize profusely, and tell the doctor/nurse/whoever that you simply can’t afford it; do they have a payment plan with less than %2 interest or an alternative effective treatment? Doctors are running a business, you see. Part of doing business is negotiation. Part of your negotiation is going to a different doctor with more reasonable prices.

A hint to wise humans: When you go to visit your human vet, pay your cat with delicious fishes. A cat will forgive your transgressions faster this way, and will not charge interest.

New cars are too expensive? Lower your wants down to what you need. Buy used. Buy a beater that is road-legal and will get you to and from your job(s) until you can afford something better.

Better still, when you find yourself saying, “I Can’t…”. STOP. Ask yourself, “WHY can’t I?”

Why can’t shorten my morning commute, get more sleep, get gas some other time than in the morning rush?
Why can’t I get the junk on the floor out of the way?
Why can’t I just reschedule everything else for One Day so I can work on my bench?
And so forth.

Now here’s a kicker: Why can’t I post regularly on this blog?

Hmmm… You’d think that, by now, I’d enjoy the taste of my own medicine!

My human is learning wisdom. Soon, he will discover that adding frequent pictures of Pookah, who is naturally regal and appealing, will entice other humans to offer small tasty birds as is my due. Then my human will not have to worry so much about forgetting to give me Pookahtreats.

One Response to “Can’t”

  1. […] Should and Shouldn’t are close relatives of Can’t. […]

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