Don’t say I can’t, say I won’t

If you spend time with Tienda Nube’s / Nuvem Shop’s management team, you will quickly realize that we say a lot “I won’t do X” instead of “I can’t do X”. Why? Because wording matters; the right words can transmit a powerful message.

It is under your control

By saying “ I can’t do X”, you mean that there is an unstoppable external force that doesn’t allow you to do something. More often than not, it’s a conscious decision. You had a previous appointment? You could re-schedule it, but you are choosing not to, and sticking to it. You won’t re-schedule it.

When you say “I can’t do X” you tend to really mean “I won’t to do X because I would rather spend my time doing something else” and it is perfectly OK.

Be honest about what you want

Different people value different things. It is OK if you would rather stay at home watching Netflix instead of going out to a bar with friends if that’s what you prefer to do. There’s no need to give any excuses, just be honest about what you value and what you want to spend your time on.

I used to do musical theatre. There’s a culture around it: if someone goes see your show and their show comes next, you should buy I ticket and go see them; a common courtesy. I did this for a couple years until I understood that I did not received any joy in watching the same shows over and over again. It had nothing to do with the quality of the show, it was that it did not provide any value for me anymore. So one day I started saying that I would not be going

If someone is offended because you are doing what you want, they probably have a different list of things they value the most and are having a hard time empathizing with you. A typical example is hearing someone say to you “I don’t understand why you would rather spend your time doing X instead of Y”.

Your time matters

As Steve Jobs said “Your time is limited, so don’t spend it living somebody else’s life”. Time is the only thing that will never stop. If you are lucky enough to know what you want to do with your time, don’t hide it behind a mystic unstoppable force. Go ahead and live the life you want to live.

Sir yes sir (source)

By saying “I won’t”, it means you are in full control of the situation, you are being honest, and you cherish your time.