A friend posted this image on Facebook.
I love it. It allows for difference, and it allows for achievement.
To achieve the best we can always takes effort, courage and persistence. When it comes to us with disabilities, a little ingenuity and perseverance means we can frequently do more than expected. We may do things differently, we may use customised equipment, but we can still do awesome things.
But we all have our differences and our limitations. Real limitations.
Which makes the 'You can do anything you put mind to' and 'Everyone can achieve their dreams if they want it enough' phrases nonsense.
For example I cannot sing well.
If my dream was to become a professional opera singer, no matter how much I trained, no matter how much I worked and practised, I would at best be the 'scrapings at the bottom of the barrel' when it came to casting. And I would have devoted my life to something in which I had no real prospect of success.
This doesn't mean we see a barrier and assume we can't, but that we consider it and decide whether we go ahead with finding ways round it, or we look around at our options and head of in a new and equally interesting direction.
It was by doing this that I found my new and much loved career in stickmen cartoons. I was an Environmental Health Officer and loved it. I had to medically retire. I looked at ways I could continue in the field around my limitations and I looked around at what I really wanted, and what other options there were. And I found stickmen, and in using my stickman skills while considering Environmental Health options I ended up deciding that actually, stickmen were more fun and more suited to my lifestyle. If I had clung to my dream of being one of the top EHOs in the country I would never have found my stickmen, would have had to make huge sacrifices in every other area of my life, including with my health, and it is doubtful that I would ever have achieved my dream - a lifetime of struggle for very little reward. Instead I found a new dream: an international stickman business which helps break down the barriers of misunderstanding and miscommunication around disabilities.
Admitting 'can't' doesn't mean weakness when it is replaced by things we 'can' do. Nor does it somehow reduce our value to recognise our limits (whether temporary or permanent.)
In life, 'Can't' happens. So what? Let's be too busy with 'Can' to worry about it.