The Surprising Power of Saying “Don’t”, “Can’t” and “Shouldn’t”

by | Oct 29, 2012 | Coaching Skills | 0 comments

Your unconscious mind ignores words like “don’t”, “can’t” and  “shouldn’t”. It only hears what comes next e.g. don’t think of a blue tree. You have to think, “blue tree” to not think of it.

But it goes beyond simply THINKING of the thing because your unconscious mind does what it’s told. This means you actually begin to manifest what comes after your “don’t’s”, “can’t’s” and “shouldn’t’s”!

So, everyday, people are trying to be their best but partly because of the way they talk to themself, they are unknowingly sabotaging their own success. This is all happening at an unconscious level.

Check out some common examples of what I’m talking about below.

What you tell yourself What your unconscious mind hears and manifests
Don’t be afraid Be afraid
I can’t fail Fail
I shouldn’t eat those fries Eat those fries
I can’t be abandoned again Be abandoned again
I don’t want another cigarette Want another cigarette



Test: Does This Apply to You?

Find out if this applies to you by answering the following questions.

  • How many common phrases do you tell yourself that use the words, “don’t”, “can’t” or “shouldn’t”?
  • What comes after your “don’t’s”, “can’t’s” and  “shouldn’t’s”? Are those things that you want to manifest?
    • Which phrases do you need to change to communicate even better with your unconscious mind?


Manifest an Even Better Life

Here’s how you can use this concept to communicate better with your unconscious mind and ultimately build a better path to your own personal success.

The Steps

Step Description
  1. Be Aware
Pay close attention to what you are telling yourself not to do by listening for your “don’t’s”, “can’t’s”, and  “shouldn’t’s”.
  1. Decide
Decide if you want to manifest the thing that comes next (whatever comes after “don’t”, “can’t”, or  “shouldn’t”) .
  1. Rephrase
Change what you don’t want into something that you do want.Hint: What you want is often the opposite of what you are saying you don’t want.  Feel free to embellish your rephrasing. Sometimes the pure opposite can seem a bit too much to swallow when it’s all on its own. You may need to add some additional information to make the idea more meaningful for you.



Some Examples

Here are some examples of how to rephrase and embellish old ideas into new ones that will ultimately give your unconscious mind a message worth manifesting.


What you don’t want What you do want Sample Embellishment
Don’t be afraid Be strong Fear is a sign that I am about to learn something new
I can’t fail I can succeed There is no failure only feedback
I shouldn’t eat those fries I should eat a chicken breast and salad My health and fitness is in my top five priorities right now
I can’t be abandoned again I am a keeper I want to love and be loved
I don’t want another cigarette I want to breathe clean air My lungs feel fresh and clear



Try it Out

Take one statement that you make about what you don’t want and rephrase it into something you do want. Then add an embellishment that makes your new statement really sparkle for you.


What’s Next

Over the course of the week listen out for every time you say the words, “don’t”, “can’t” or “shouldn’t”. When you catch one, make sure you are giving your unconscious mind the right directions on what you want to manifest.


Just Imagine…

I’d like you to imagine that over the next two weeks you have developed a keen awareness of every time you say “don’t”, “can’t” and  “shouldn’t”.  With this awareness you stop and make new choices about what you do want in your life.

Fast-forward to three months from now. Now, look back at how all of those decisions have helped you not be distracted with what you don’t want. You notice instead, how you have honed your focus to what you actually want. You may even start to have a sense of how making what you want happen feels a bit easier than it did in the past.

Simple concept. Big impact.



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