The 5 Saddest Words

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The 5 Saddest Words You Can Say

“I walk offstage after speaking to 4,500 people. A sound tech shakes his head. ‘I could never do that,’ he says.

‘Sure, you could,’ I think. It’s hard, but not that hard. First you struggle because you haven’t figured out what you want to say doesn’t matter–all that matters is what your audience will benefit from hearing. Then you work and revise and find your hook and your story. And you practice. And what’s to be afraid of? That you’ll fail? Sometimes we bomb when we speak to one person; the only difference is the degree.

In time, speaking is relatively easy–and if it’s relatively easy for someone as shy and insecure as I am, it can be fairly easy for anyone. You just have to be willing to try. …

Life throws up enough barriers. Genetics. Education. Intelligence. Athletic ability. The list of reasons we can’t do certain things is endless. No matter how hard I work I’ll never be as talented as LeBron James. Or Usain Bolt. Or Maria Sharapova. Or Stephen King or Stephen Hawking or Stephen Colbert.

They’re all bigger, stronger, faster, smarter, more creative, or much, much funnier. Those are barriers I could forever work to overcome but likely never surmount. I can go far…but probably not that far. (If you haven’t gotten the point yet, I am definitely nothing special. If I can do interesting or challenging things–imagine what you can do.)

But then there are the hundreds of barriers we construct all on our own without any justification. We don’t know we can’t; we just decide we can’t. So we decide we shouldn’t.

We decide whatever we might want to do is too hard, too challenging, or too scary for a person like us.

And that’s why five of the saddest words you can say are, ‘I could never do that.'”




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