Can-Do / Can’t-Do Attitude

One of the things that makes makes a person different are whiffs of their can-do/can’t do attitude. People call it having a optimistic or pessimistic personality, but I think these definitions are quite limiting so am going to stick to mine for now.

It shows on the little actions and decisions a person make — and though these decisions may be negligible, it does have huge accumulative effects in the long run.

Case in point, today’s typhoon weekend and am bored. Nobody’s at work, and for once, I don’t need to brave the wind and rain to finish some sort of backlog. So why not hang out with friends instead?

I SMS my good girl friend — “Hey Mar, do you want to meet today to have brunch or dinner or whatever?”

Government called a day off today and there’s no restaurant open or public transportation available,” she SMS’d back.

I love Mar, I really do. However, this sort of Can’t-Do attitude — popularly known as There’s-Always-A-Reason-Not-To-Do-It — that frustrates me sometimes.

Sure, the typhoon may be raging (though in Philippines’ definition, this typhoon is a baby. There’s seriously no need to call off work. No floods or galvanized iron flying about!), but instead of telling me why we cannot meet, how about coming forward with ideas on how we can?

Put this case in contrast with my business contact/friend TY. After weeks of trying to meet and haven’t, we didn’t succumb to the winds and rains this time. So after I texted her, she immediately replied, “Sure, what time can we meet? Shall we do 9am since we’re both awake already?”

Then she followed up with this message: “If all restaurants are closed, come on over and I can cook french toast.”

Bloody hell. This was around 8am (I was awoken by some other mysterious text message).

 I rushed to tell her that this wasn’t a business lunch (of course it wasn’t) and decided to meet at 10:30 am instead.

However, this is what I love about TY. I have never seen anybody more energetic and full of life than I am. Whereas I may still hee and haw about some things, TY is never in inertia. She’s always running about and doing things as if time’s running out.

Unsurprisingly, she has held multiple positions like Chief Financial Officer of a mid-sized Internet company, has worked in public relations of a bank and a manufacturing company, and in many definitions, a “successful woman.”

It’s also the same with our company driver who was depressed because there was lesser cases for him to do.

Don’t be too sad, Mr. Chen,” I consoled him. “Think of it as a great opportunity to widen your client circle as before, you’re too busy to drive everyone to find new clients. So now, you’re dependent on a single customer. Why not use this downtrend to promote your business?”

“But there is no business to promote,” he sadly said. “The economy is down and nobody wants drivers. I have a whole team of drivers who is asking me for more cases!”

“Look Mr. Chen,” I firmly told him. “Stop feeling sorry for yourself and blaming the economy. Instead of telling us all the reasons why your business is going down the drain, how about spending more time into thinking how to survive despite the economic downturn? Stop worrying and start thinking solutions!”

I think there’s a huge lesson here.

When you think different, you act different.

When you act different, then it has huge implications to how your life would be.

For example, with my friend TY, she never thinks that any obstacle is seriously an issue. For her, if there’s an issue, well, let’s think of a way around it. She grabs these opportunities and then sees if she makes a mistake. If it’s a wrong decision, she’ll backtrack a bit and choose another one.

However, she’s moving forward regardless… slowly yet surely.

Meanwhile, for my friend Mar and the driver Mr. Chen, all they see are the many challenges before them. Because of that, their next tactic is to retreat and wait and see if there’s better oportunities out there.

But opportunities fly away — they’re limited and only builds up after another. So whereas there are more opportunities from the beginning of your life/career, the bigger chances only build up after you grab on previous chances. You don’t become a CFO on the get-go. Nobody’s that brilliant. However, you are only offered a CFO job after you accepted a job offer, then accepted promotions and kicked ass.

Sure, I know a lot of people are qualified to be CFO or CEO or whatever. My friend Mar is one of the most talented women I’ve ever met. Witty and intelligent and she can do a lot of things other people can’t.

Nonetheless, how come other people are starting to have an advantage over her? Given her thought process, iIn time, as she retreats and regroups, other people like Ting are already munching on the goodies and are building up a better career paths.

My friends, success only shines not to the lucky but to those who are prepared to grab it.

If we spend so much time thinking of reasons why we cannot have something, then the duck has flown the coop. We probably lost one big regrettable opportunity.

Despite my words, I am not yet up to TY’s level. Far from it.

This is a lesson am learning from her and from successful people every day though.

And this is an integral lesson we can learn — instead of giving us the reasons why something is impossible, can you kindly help by providing solutions on how to make it possible? Life is already difficult. Shall we make it even harder by worrying about things that we cannot help?

If everybody gave up because they encountered some sort of challenges, then what type of world will we live in? Life is tough, and hard. There’s always going to be a problem no matter how you go around an issue! That’s a big part of life.

The difference is, will you be a doer or a moaner?

I’d like to be the former.

How about you?

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2 thoughts on “Can-Do / Can’t-Do Attitude

  1. I like to do both — first I whine a bit (privately of course, not in that fatalist public display that you described), then I move my ass and do it. Best of both worlds, eh? 🙂

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