Common objection 2: I’m not good at X. I can’t do Y. I’m not a Z person

November 22, 2012 by Joshua
in Blog, Leadership, Tips

[This post is part of a series on internal objections and blocks and how to overcome them. If you don’t see a Table of Contents to the left, click here to view the series, where you’ll get more value than reading just this post.]


People usually state this objection as a statement like these.

I’m just not a leader.

Leaders are born, not made and I wasn’t born a leader.

I’ve tried losing weight a million times. I’m just not a gym person.

I’m no good at math.


Too many to list. The above statements suggest a few.

Underlying belief

The underlying belief to these statements is that

Existing or past patterns can’t change.


Describing how things are says how they have to be.

When you point out to people how the way they say things affect their beliefs, how they see the world, and how they behave, they often point out how they’re right or they’re just pointing out facts. They act like you must have your head in the sand to object.

Alternative belief

How you say things affects how you believe them. Describing something as static may make it sound more static that it is. But likewise, describing it as dynamic or that you’d like it to change may be equally right but motivate change.

Stating how you want things to happen can help them happen that way.

Alternative strategy

I propose using different language to describe things you don’t like or want to change.

Grounding how you view the world on rightness or a single perspective misses the point. You want to improve your life, not find collections of facts. You can say things in different ways to motivate yourself in different ways.

Rephrasing helps. The word “yet” helps a lot.

Starting with adding one word to this post’s title’s examples, then moving to more changes to the examples above

I’m not good at X yet.

I can’t do Y yet.

I’m not a Z person yet.

I haven’t learned to lead yet.

I’m not a leader yet.

Some people say leaders are born, not made, but maybe not.

I’ve tried losing weight a million times. As long as someone somewhere found a way to get and stay fit, I bet I can too.

Some people love gyms. I’m going to find something there to love. Or maybe team sports or solo sports. I’ll find something.

If anyone can learn math, I can too.


People dwell in rightness or wrongness. You probably readily recognize when others act self-righteously with you and don’t like it. You may not notice when you act self-righteously with them or yourself, but it rarely helps.

If you want to lead yourself or others, I suggest you’ll do better to focus on what works first.

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