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  • Writer's pictureKarl Avdek


Updated: Oct 31, 2021


“Waaaaah …!!!” (That’s the sound of crying). I can’t do it. I can’t change. I just can’t. It’s the way I am!!! I can’t … can’t … can’t … !!! (Now the sound gets louder: screaming): “CAN’T”

And of course the NEXT piece of dialogue is often worse … “I WON’T …!!

How you ever heard this dialogue? As a parent, how painful is it to hear those words from your child? You feel anger. It is not fair. You are trying to give something to your son/daughter; a skill; life lessons and habits; through school or sports or some other activity. Your best intentions are in place and working overtime. You feel as if you have lost a “connection” with your child. They are NOT listening to you … a least at the moment. The worst emotion is that you feel inadequate. You cannot seem to find a way to re-connect with the youngster and make this work.

Perhaps the single most important “life lesson” any parent wants to teach his/her children is very simply, “DON’T GIVE UP!!!”

NEVER say “… can’t.” Keep going!!! It’s okay to say “… not Yet” … but NEVER NEVER NEVER do we want to hear, “I can’t.”

It means one is defeated. Finished.

Are you struggling with a communication issue with a youngster or yourself. I have worked with scores of athletes all over the world. I have a parenting program that works!!!


How often have we thought or perhaps (worse): SAID those words ourselves about OURSELVES (… the “I can’t” speech) … TO ourselves or others; family members, wife, husband, brother, sister, parents, teammates. Fellow workers, teachers, coaches; perhaps even therapists; all sorts of people who are trying to help us overcome a problem or achieve a goal.

We have said it about our performances and we have said it to describe our emotional and mental state.

Perhaps the single most important attributes of success is RESILIENCY; the ability to get up and TRY AGAIN!!!

There would be no light bulb without Thomas Edison’s 10,000 FAILED attempts.

There would be no Walt Disney and no Disneyland, no Snow White, and Cinderella, and Aladdin, and the Lion King, etc., etc., etc. “Steamboat Willie” which introduced Mickey Mouse was Disney’s THIRD film. The first two bombed.

There would be no Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling’s manuscript was rejected by all 12 major publishers. The first printing was by a smaller publisher for only 1000 copies and she was living on welfare.

There would be no Stephen King books. “Carrie” was rejected 30 times. He was living in a trailer park.

Here’s a novel thought which should inspire you to keep going. There would be no upright and walking … YOU!!! Experts agree that walking is one of the most difficult tasks we EVER teach ourselves … but we do. We do succeed. Why? Because we get up and try it again … until it works.

Persistence and a vision are both integral to success.

Would it motivate you to know … if you are addressing either your son/daughter or yourself that the “I can’t … especially the “I can’t CHANGE” is not true … at all. It’s not true emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and even PHYSICALLY.

The human mind has an incredible capacity for change. It is, in fact, specifically PROGRAMMED for change; DESIGNED to change. That “ability to change” even has a $10 word attached to it. It’s called “NEUROPLASTICITY”.

Several years ago NASA conducted an experiment in order to determine what effect living in a weightless environment would have on astronauts. Specifically NASA wanted to test how the astronauts would adapt to living and working in such a radically different environment; an environment with a dramatically altered set of physical laws … zero gravity; weightlessness.

In order to test the astronauts ability to adapt to this new environment, NASA created an “adaptation dilemma” for the astronauts by fitting the astronauts with goggles that FLIPPED their field of vision 180 degrees. In other words what they saw was literally UPSIDE DOWN.

The astronauts were required to wear the goggles 24 hours a day; even when they were asleep.

Not so surprisingly their bodies, their movements, and physical actions adapted pretty quickly. What was truly amazing was how their EYES adjusted. Within 30 days of starting to use the goggles, their vision changed. Their eyes ADAPTED to the goggles and they saw RIGHT SIDE UP again; even with the goggles in place.

How was that possible?

Actually the process is very simple. The astronauts brains “adapted” to the new input of information they were receiving and created NEW “neural PATHWAYS” which could REINTERPRET the new information and, in sequence, communicate to the body on how to USE the “new” information correctly.

Very cool.

Your own behavior … or that of your child WILL adapt to new and different INFORMATION. It simply has to be (important word and concept coming up here): REPEATED!!!

Jim Lefebvre (remember him? Ex-player, manager, coach, and ultimately an ambassador for turning baseball into an “international” game; i.e. coached China in the World Baseball Classic and the 2008 Olympics) once said that, “if you show a youngster how to swing correctly and have him swing 200 times a day, that youngster will play professional baseball.”

Two important concepts there; CORRECT and REPETITION.

If you are working with a youngster … or yourself simply START small. Chunk it down!!! Start with information and verbalization/affirmations.

“I can.” Rinse and repeat. “I can …” Rinse and repeat. “I can …”

It works! More on the process in next article.

Sometimes it is difficult to ask for help.

All of us could improve something with our mental approach to our game. Sometimes we need help but don’t know who to ask … or how. Contact me and I can explain my sports mental toughness programs and you can learn how to quickly and easily improve your mental game.

I work with athletes and their families from all over the world using ZOOM over the internet!!!


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