Institute for Charitable Giving

blue rule

If You Think You Can’t, You’re Right

blue rule

Do not ask, “Can we do this?” Rather, ask, “How can we do it?”

It recognizes that to say impossible always puts you on the losing side.

I love telling the story about Bonnie McElveen-Hunter. She is one of my favorite people, owns an extremely successful business, and, among other things, is Chair of the American Red Cross.

Bonnie tells the story of when she was eight years old and her sister was six, her mother (Madeline) told the two girls to bring a pencil and a sheet of paper into the backyard.

There is Madeline, sitting on the ground. Next to her is a shoebox. She asks the two girls to dig a big hole.  They do.

“Now here’s what I want you to do,” says Madeline. “Write the word can’t on this sheet of paper, fold it, and put it in the shoebox. We’re going to bury the shoebox and you won’t be able to ever say the word can’t again.” And if you know Bonnie, you wouldn’t dare use that word in front of her. She’s the most can-do person I know.

If you think you can’t— you’re right. If you think you can— you’re right. The choice is yours.


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