The word “can’t” is a terrible word.
If people in the past allowed this word to dominate, then there won’t be a lot of accomplishments today.
Now, take a look at these:
• The first successful cast-iron plow, invented in the United States in 1797, was rejected by New Jersey farmers under the theory that cast iron poisoned the land and stimulated the growth of weeds.
• An eloquent authority in the United States declared that the introduction of the railroad would require the building of many insane asylums, since people would be driven mad with terror at the sight of locomotives rushing across the country.
• In Germany, it was proved by “experts” that if trains went at the frightful speed of 15 miles an hour, blood would spurt from the travelers’ noses and passengers would suffocate when going through tunnels.
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• Commodore Vanderbilt dismissed Westinghouse and his new air brakes for trains, stating, “I have no time to waste on fools.”
• Those who loaned Robert Fulton money for his steamboat project stipulated that their names be withheld for fear of ridicule were it known they supported anything so “foolhardy.”
• In 1881, when the New York YWCA announced typing lessons for women, vigorous protests were made on the grounds that the female constitution would break down under the strain.
• Men insisted that iron ships would not float, that they would damage more easily than wooden ships when grounding, that it would be difficult to preserve the iron bottom from rust, and that iron would deflect the compass.
• Joshua Coppersmith was arrested in Boston for trying to sell stock in the telephone. “All well-informed people know that it is impossible to transmit the human voice over a wire.”
• The editor of the Springfield Republican refused an invitation to ride in an early automobile, claiming that it was incompatible with the dignity of his position. (Source: James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988)
Notice the word “couldn’t or cannot?”
Even the experts were clearly wrong.
Below is a circulating compilation of circumstances from people who said “it couldn’t be done.”
Let us learn from them.
Electric Light – “good enough for our transatlantic friends, but unworthy of the attention of practical or scientific men” was the British Parliament’s report on Edison’s work, 1878.
The Telephone – “That’s an amazing invention, but who would ever want to use one of them?” says Pres. Rutherford Hayes, 1876.
Television – “People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.” says Darryl F. Zanuck, head of Twentieth Century-Fox, 1946.
Computers – “There is no reason for any individual to have computer in their home.” says Ken Olson, Pres. of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.
Aviation – “The popular mind often pictures gigantic flying machines speeding across the Atlantic and carrying innumerable passengers…it seems safe to say that such ideas are wholly visionary.” says Harvard astronomer Wm. Henry Pickering, 1908.
“Nuclear powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality within 10 years.” says vacuum cleaner manufacturer, Alex Lewyt, 1955.
On Medicine – “The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will be forever shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon.” says leading British surgeon Sir John Erichsen, 1837.
Experts made mistakes; they believed certain things cannot be done.
I am more of a “can” person.
The next time somebody gives you a project that you feel you can’t do, drop the “T” and surprise everyone including yourself on what you can accomplish.
Now, this is just me, but my most favorite “can” came from the Scriptures, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” This is my source of confidence.
(Mark your calendars. Spend two inspiring days with Francis Kong learning leadership and life skills as he present Level Up Leadership on September 23-24 at EDSA Shangri-La Hotel. For further inquiries, contact Inspire at 09158055910 or call 632-6310912 for details.)