Victimology 101 and The Yoda Principle

There are two words that grate on me like fingernails on chalkboards for those of you who remember slate chalk boards. They drive me nuts.

CAN’T and TRY! I hate both of them because they are the private preserve of victims and quitters everywhere.

Let me explain: As soon as you utter the word can’t, it’s game over. No one ever overcomes can’t. You even have to whine a little when you say it. Think about it.

CAN is a better word. Remember “The Little Engine Who Could.”

I can’t take it any more. I can’t stand my wife/husband. I can’t put up with that behavior any more…we hear it all the time. How much better than the victim word can’t are the Will and Won’t words. Can’t says I have no control over my circumstances, I am just a victim here. Will and Won’t and Can represent proactive options that always exist.

  • I WILL be the best parent I can even though my spouse and I are now separated.
  • I WILL find the person who I have been looking for in life as soon as I find that person in myself.
  • I CAN take charge of my life…I am responsible for my thoughts and actions.
  • I CAN and WILL learn how to be a better wife/husband.

Will is a statement of intention and is the weapon to defeat can’t.

Today, count the number of times you can replace can’t with Will and feel the difference.

Take the time to do this exercise—any two people can do it regardless of size or strength…come on you can do this. It is fun. You will be amazed…promise.

Whichever of the two of you uses the word TRY for anything is the guinea pig:

Guinea Pig:

  • Stand with your arms outstretched parallel to the floor
  • Think of something you like to do and are good at


  • Instruct the guinea pig to repeat this phrase at least 4 times and really try to convince you they try. Example:

I try to play or do or like something…” i.e. “I try to be a good cook” or “I try to play golf.” (Guinea Pig chooses the topic.)

  • Stand behind them and hold on to their arms lightly at the wrist
  • Instruct the guinea pig to resist as you push their arms downward after the fourth ‘try’

Guinea Pig:

  • Repeat the “I try” phrase 4 times with conviction and then resist.

Repeat the exercise with these differences Partner:

  • After the 4th time they repeat the “I try” phrase attempt to push the guinea pig arms down to their sides from wrists. Observe the results.

Guinea Pig:

  • Repeat the exercise, only this time say the phrase without using the word try. Example: “

I like to cook and I’m good at it” or “I like to play golf and I’m good at it.”

  • Repeat the phrase at least 4 times…convince your partner what you like to do and are good at.


  • After the 4th time they repeat the “I like” phrase attempt to push the guinea pig arms down to their sides from wrists.

Guinea Pig:

  • Once again resist your partner’s attempt to lower your arms after the 4th time through. Now observe the results. What was the difference?

Notice how easy it is for you to be defeated when you use the word TRY. The word is nothing more than an excuse for failure.

One Final Note

Hence the YODA principle:

Today, count the number of times you can replace Try with WILL and CAN DO and feel the difference.