I Cannot

We can tell whether a person is competent or capable from the answers he or she gives when asked to do something. Competent people always reply “yes,” while those who are incapable often answer “no.” If I were illiterate and asked someone who to help me write a letter, he or she would most likely do it. If they were too busy, they would tell me, “I’ll write the letter for you when I have time,” or “I’ll find someone to help you.”

A competent person would help you finish the task regardless of the circumstances. However, if the person is incompetent, he or she would skip out on even the simplest deeds. He or she would typically say, “I don’t have time,” “I don’t like doing that,” “I don’t want to,” or “Why don’t you ask someone else?”

There are people who often tell others, “I can’t.” But is that really the case? In reality, they do not want to think about how to solve problems and just want to take the easy way out. When they are asked to come to a meeting, they reply, “I can’t make it.” When asked to help the physically challenged, they say, “I can’t. I feel sad when I see them.” When asked to do community service, they refuse by saying, “I’m not interested.” When asked to move a heavy object, they explain, “I can’t—I don’t have the strength.” This kind of attitude will only result in a habit of refusing to help even themselves.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Some people make excuses when they run into setbacks in their careers, social lives, or even thinking, insisting there is no way to overcome them. However, we must understand that when our old methods of dealing with a situation no longer work, then it may be time for change. We should try to look at things from another perspective and ask for different people’s opinions. This might open our minds and bring us even better results. As the saying goes, “All roads lead to Rome.”

We should change our ways of thinking —”We can say good words, do good deeds, and have good thoughts!” We can study hard for decades, and we can cultivate ourselves to become a Buddha. In Chinese history, the founding emperor of the Han Dynasty used to be the guard of a kiosk. The first emperor of the Ming Dynasty was formerly a novice monk. Many great entrepreneurs and millionaires started out poor and lowly. Nothing in this world is impossible.

If we are willing to change, we can always find a way. Saying “no” is just an excuse. If we cannot deal with a problem, we can ask others for help. If one road does not take us where we want to go, we can look for another. If a particular person is unable to help us, we can find someone else who will. When there seems to be no way, why not create our own way?