Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago · 3 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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Two Destructive Words that Scuttle your Dreams and Goals.

Two Destructive Words that Scuttle your Dreams and Goals.

Every so often I sit down and take stock of my life.

- What’s going well? 

- What’s not going well? 

- What do I need to do to fix it?

- How do I get those damn squirrels out of my attic? (Real ones, not metaphorical).

I also take time to dream…

… and wonder.

It is during those times that I have made decisions that have had a huge impact on my life, or my family, or my team.

It’s when I set tangible goals… not the kind about what I’m going to eat for dinner, or where to go on vacation, but things that (for me) will make a dent in the universe*.

If you have read my profile, you will notice that I like to take on big challenges – either in a startup organization (start a new med school from scratch), or make a 100-year-old institution the leader in the use of technology (my current role).

I also take these times to look at those things that may be hindering me, or my team from achieving those goals, and set things in motion to overcome them.

Let’s call them obstacles, or resistance.

A brief segue…

I read.

A lot.

But there are some books I haven’t read, that the mere title was enough to impact me, and caused me to stop and consider the implications.

Years ago, there was a book that was (and still is) a best seller.

Originally published in 1952 (long before I was even a glint in my father’s eyes) it is still available on Amazon today (here).

I’m talking about Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking.

… now, back to my post.

I’m not here to do a review of Mr. Peale’s tome – since admittedly I haven’t actually read the book.

I do want to talk about the connection between the title of his book and our self-talk which can derail our plans, our goals, and our dreams.

I have found a direct correlation between my words when setting a goal and the ultimate success or achievement of that goal.

This of course is a highly unscientific study based on n=1… but I thought I would share it anyway.

If you want to make a dent in the universe, or perhaps the dynamics in your team (which can feel as big), or repair a broken relationship, you are going to run into resistance.

It’s a given.

Like gravity.

You can pretend it isn't there, but you are still impacted by it.

Sometimes this resistance can appear to be overwhelming.

You hear yourself say things like

- “I can’t get that person to change their mind.”

- “I can’t get a promotion”

- “I can’t stop snacking before bed – especially when there is cake.”

- "I can’t forgive that person.”

- “I can’t find a way through this…”

… and I’ll bet you a Canadian nickel that you are right.

“I can’t” admits defeat before you even try.

“I can’t” is easy to say, since it doesn’t require any work, or change on your part.

But if you want to move on, you need to adjust your words.

- “I must find a way to get them to see a different point of view.”

- “I will make myself the best candidate for that promotion.”

- “I won’t snack before bed – even where there is cake.”

- “Even though it is difficult, I will find a way to come to a point of forgiveness. I am willing to be willing to forgive.”

- “I will find a way through this!”

In my times of deep pondering, when I look back at the goals I’ve achieved both professionally and personally, I have found that the words “I can’t” were never part of my successes.

Sometimes it was someone else who convinced me of the possible.

Most of the times, it was my choice.

It’s not about false optimism, but employing a tool to overcome resistance.

Javier Camara Rica of beBee is well known for saying “DREAM BIG!”.

It’s a most effective tool against the curse of the “I can’t”.

What do you do to overcome resistance and move forward?


* "Dent in the Universe" - attributed to Steve Jobs

Image: Abandoned House - KWPashuk

About the Author:

Two Destructive Words that Scuttle your Dreams and Goals.I’m the Chief Information Officer for Appleby College, in Oakville, Ontario Canada, where my team is transforming the delivery of education through innovative application of technology.

I'm convinced that IT leadership needs to dramatically change how IT is delivered rather than being relegated to a costly overhead department.

In addition to transforming IT in my role as CIO, I look for every opportunity to talk about this... writing, speaking and now blogging on BeBee ( , LinkedIn, ITWorld Canada, or at

I also shoot things... with my camera. Check out my photostream at 

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Jim Murray

5 years ago #29

I can't...disagree with the wisdom here.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #28

Thanks for visiting Linda, and the two words are.. "I can't". The word 'can't" by itself is pretty benign. When you say "I can't" it impacts you.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #27

Thanks Paul. There are definitely some things we can't do... Like resist an opportunity to be a smart ass.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #26

Very profound my Irish friend.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #25

Thank you so much sir Ali.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #24

Thanks again for your kind words John.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #23

LOL Dean... I'm not sure your wife would agree with your comment.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #22

Thanks David. I like the term "I can't loop"... I agree. It does blind us to the possibilities.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #21

#22 Thanks for sharing Chas and for the book recommendation.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #20

Thanks for the kind words Praveen.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #19

Thanks Claire.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #18

Thanks for visiting Ken. One doesn't have to look too far to find things that are broken that need fixing. But the really great changes, the innovative ones, are the ones that blow up the norm... I agree that baby steps are a good approach... but then there's always the bandage analogy... do you rip it off fast, or slow? As far as the Miss World contest... Does the Donald still own that one?

Pascal Derrien

5 years ago #17

Sometimes people don't always do what they want but what they can.... :-)

I can't makes a problem worse by its narrowing down of possibilities Great buzz Kevin Pashuk

Dean Owen

5 years ago #15

Rather than "I can't" or "I can", I have be known to say "I do" in the past, and that has gotten me in a lot of trouble :)

David Navarro López

5 years ago #14

This Post is a gem, dear Kevin, thank you for sharing. I agree with it entirely, as sometimes the hardest obstacle when facing a challenge is ourselves. But this is, as you point wisely, our own choice. When we close our mind into the "I can't loop", we are not able to see the opportunities to go through something even if they slap our face.

Claire L Cardwell

5 years ago #13

Eye can - Brilliant!

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #12

One of the biggest resistors to change is the oft quoted "don't fix it if it ain't broke". Well we can all sit and watch the world change around us like one of the mice in "Who moved my cheese?" Or we can think and dream big, as you suggest, Kev, and actually "give a sh_t". I would caution, however, that lots and lots and lots of baby steps appear to work better than the proverbial "bull in the china shop". Now ..... how do we achieve world peace? Perhaps the first step is to enter the Miss World contest? 🤔

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #11

Thanks for your kind words John.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #10

Fully agree with you about forgiveness Pam. When we don't forgive, it harms us. It's like trying to kill someone by drinking poison yourself. Forgiving someone is really for our own good.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #9

Thanks Franci.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #8

Sometime the stupidest things stick in our minds... in your case David, it's not a bad thing that an 'eye can' is your object.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #7

Laughter has been called the 'best' medicine Irene. Resistance is a given. It's our approach to it that determines whether we succeed or fail.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #6

Thanks Javier. Keep on Dreaming!

Dreams come true. I think of them as mental preset goals. Javier is right - dream big, it's free and healthy.

Javier 🐝 CR

5 years ago #4

thanks Kevin Pashuk. Let's dream big. Dreaming big is free and healthy :) ... and we know that we can do it !

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #3

You are mentioned in this post Javier beBee... :)

Harvey Lloyd

5 years ago #2

You reminded of the demotivational poster, "It is difficult to soar like an Eagle, when you are surrounded by Turkeys." My son in law, when we go out as a family always runs to the closest parking spot to the place. He passes many open spots to get there. I joke with him that everyone else has his idea and it won't be one. He always says you have to believe, think positive. So now we have a ritual of entering the parking lot where i call the family to order and tell everyone to believe that someone just left us a spot up front. I am sure the averages play out, but it sure does seem i am the but of that outcome more often than not. All kidding aside, positive thoughts are the only thing we have to move forward sometimes. Great Post Kevin Pashuk. Ps i would like to see a psychoanalysis of the E meets I encounter shared by Darth Vader:)

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #1

Thanks Paul for visiting and commenting.

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