I know you can’t.
You must have said it a thousand times, and then you whispered it a thousand more.
You can’t. I get it. I know.
But now what?
Do you feel better?
Does your futile little whimper change anything?
But you’ll remain the same.
You’ll remain in the same place. The same valley you can’t get out of and you have no choice to face down the same challenges. Your fruitless moan won’t change a single thing.
But you can.
You can change your mind.
Not the circumstances or the challenges you face, but the course of action you take.
You can and you should.
In the Second World War, when Hitler invaded Poland from the West, the battle was over before it began. Sadly, the hope of a reborn Polish nation rested in its allies, but the allies never came.
Left alone, against the grinding power of the Nazi machine, they stood no chance.
There was one battle in particular that early September, that my father and mother were most auspiciously proud of. It was a battle between a platoon of German tanks, and a small garrison of Polish Calvary riders on their horses.
There was only possible way that the battle could end.
Those brave men faced down the German tanks and knew they couldn’t win, but they couldn’t live with I can’t either, so they chose to die.
They fought to their death. A most swift and immediate resolution.
But why did they do it?
And why do you keep telling yourself that you can’t?
They fought because they knew they could never stop fighting for each other. If they surrendered, they would have been captured, become prisoners, and if they were not summarily executed that day, they would have toiled in the German labour camps and died a painful death.
They were not stupid. They knew their odds. They embraced the inevitable outcome, but never once stopped thinking about the story that their children would learn to tell.
This was certainly a slaughter, but it is not written as a defeat.
This was a victory.
A battle that would play itself out, over and over again, in the hearts of many Poles, through brave acts of subversion, sabotage, and culminating itself in the tragic Warsaw Uprising of 1944.
There is was a magnificent spirit in those men on horses. A beautiful spirit that stems from the words – I can.
Such simple words. So, complicated to say.
But don’t sweat it. I already know you can’t.
You continue to whine and whimper about your life because you seek certainty. Certainty that you’ll make it. Certainty that it will all be worth it in the end. That’s why you look to the stars, gaze into crystal balls, and read your daily horoscope.
You’re afraid of living and you’re afraid of dying. You’re crippled by fear and overcome with awful nagging anxiety. You embrace and cling to your doubts about yourself, and to the endless stories of your unceasing incompetence, and yet they do not feed your soul.
You are always hungry. You are always left unsatisfied.
But what if you can?
What if you do?
What if your mistakes, your painful doubts can become a sign of hope for others?
I know I can’t change your mind.
I can only prick your consciousness.
Before you take on the world.
Try to ignore your futile whimper.
Embrace change. Get to work.
Believe you can.