Professional Engineers: How Often Do You Say “I Can’t”?

Sometimes it’s alright to know your limits and saying “I can’t”, but there are those who use it way too often—and it isn’t healthy.


Professional engineers must have a can-do attitude. But sometimes it’s alright to know your limits and saying “I can’t”, but there are those who use it way too often—and it isn’t healthy.

Professional engineers must have a can-do attitude (Source: Giphy)

Sometimes “I can’t” is filled with self-judgement. “I can’t dance. I can’t draw. I can’t solve this. I can’t lose weight”—these are all half-meant statements! You say you can’t dance, but have you even tried? You say you can’t solve this, did you try hard enough? When you say these kind of statements, does it mean that you REALLY CAN’T? Of course not!

Professional engineers must have a can-do attitude (Source: Giphy

Overusing the statement “I CAN’T” drains your power to do better.

Our brain is a very strong organ. Whatever you tell it, may have a big impact on what you believe. So, if you keep on telling yourself you can’t—even if you could—your brain would process it as you REALLY CAN’T.

Professional engineers must have a can-do attitude (Source: Giphy)

I used keep telling myself I couldn’t dance. My mom let me have ballet lessons as a kid—it didn’t end well. I got bruises all over. I still tried to learn how to dance (my mom put me up to it, again), but at the end of the day I really didn’t like dancing and I hated it.

That’s alright. It’s fine not to WANT to do something, but it’s important to acknowledge that, if you really wanted to, you COULD.

So instead of saying “I can’t”, why not change it to “I can’t, for now”. This statement will give you room for change, as well as improvement— and that’s what being an engineer is all about.

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Loudette Fabian
Contributor, Asia and the Pacific. Loudette is a metallurgical engineering student at the University of the Philippines.

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Professional Engineers: How Often Do You Say “I Can’t”?

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