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Mindset Strategies

How one little, three-lettered word changed my life

By September 6, 201710 Comments

Hey champ,

When I was in primary school I was hopeless at Maths. I was a couple of years behind my class in skill level, and I would get so frustrated about being so far behind my friends.

I felt stupid and silly and like I’d just never “get it”.

One day I came home from school after a Maths test, angry, frustrated and totally dejected. I remember saying to my Mum “What’s the point? I’m just not good at this”.

I’ll never forget my Mum’s response. She said:

“Turia, you’re not good at this YET. Maths is a skill. It’s just like riding a bike. Just because you’re not good at it now, doesn’t mean you won’t be good at it in the future”.

In the way Mum’s always are, she was right.

Years later, I graduated high school first in my classes and the winner of the Maths Medal and went on to become a mining engineer.

It was a lesson Mum taught me again in the hospital. When I couldn’t feed myself, couldn’t dress myself, couldn’t brush my hair (for years!), I would cry with frustration and say “I can’t do it”.

Each time Mum would gently remind me “Turia, you can’t do it YET”.

What Mum made me realise was that, even though my situation was hard, it wasn’t permanent. If I kept trying, kept persevering, I could and would get better.

She’s pretty good, my Mum!

Looking back now, I understand that what she taught me had lasting impact beyond those early years at school and those months in hospital.

The lesson she really taught me was of self-talk – about how the words we speak, to ourselves and others, become our reality.

See, when you say something negative and final like “I can’t do this” there’s no room for movement. It’s a fixed and final statement – one your brain reads as “the end”. You can’t do this and you never will. So, give up.

But adding three little letters to the end – yet – opens you up to a whole world of growth.

I can’t do this yet, but if I keep trying, one day I will.

So, my challenge for you this week:
You’re no longer allowed to say “I can’t do this” UNLESS you add those magic, little three letters on the end: “I can’t do this YET”.

Got it? Good! Let me know how you go in the comments below.

Remember, where you are right now isn’t permanent. With time, energy and a little perseverance, all things are possible Tweet it.

Turia xx

PS  – Know someone who could use a little reminder like this? Share this post with them.




  • Jason Connor says:

    Hi turria you weekly encouragements, have helped me no end , I’m.studying at university of Newcastle. Andi have learning disabilities , and there have been times when I have wanted to give up , but your advice comes at the right time each week just what I need to hear at the time
    P.s I would love to meet you some day at one of your talks

  • Mandy McNamara says:

    Wow Turia, what a great message about not being able to do something…..yet! My daughter and I were have a similar conversation yesterday about maths. I just read your article to my daughter. She loved it. It really struck a chord with me as well. I often give up too easily as I convince myself that I can’t do something and stop trying. Thank-you!

  • Sanja says:

    Thanks for sharing, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia (chronic pain) and haven’t been able to go back to work and do the things I used to like kickboxing, running, etc. It can be very frustrating, but I’m learning more and more how the mind and positivity is such a powerful thing and we don’t realize the simplest things have the biggest impact.


  • sue banks says:

    Hello Turia,
    Your mother is a amazing woman .I always struggled and thought I was stupid never good as my sister instilled by my mother .Love the “I can’t do this YET”. Yes Its taken me a long time to say I can do it !!. I have proven to my self I can do things . Left school at 13 went got my hsc 10 years ago and then to tafe ,That’s right never give up you inspire me every day .

  • Amy says:

    I actually needed to read this right now. Have been feeling defeated and this is just what i needed. I am certainly going to try this and also remind my kids the same thing. What a wise Mama you have!

  • Marcia says:

    Once the negative feelings come, I also have the tendency to shut down and decide that I really cannot accomplish the thing I was struggling with. Its the need to get it done now, to accomplish it now. I spent years being patient with everyone else except myself. And with little self-care, the result is that you show yourself less compassion when you need it. I’m getting better at thanking myself for all the things I accomplish and in that way I can appreciate the little steps I make. Its a great way to put it, that getting there can take a while but that it is a process.

  • Ria Mitchell says:

    YET…… I cannot tell you how relevant this post was for me. Thank you. Looking forward to seeing you in Alice Springs.

  • Pete says:

    Hi Turia, at this moment in time you are the main inspiration in my life (sorry to put that upon you!). I’ve been out of work for five months and am in fear of losing my home and everything I’ve ever worked for. I’m facing the toughest challenge of my life at the moment….I can’t begin to really understand what you’ve been through, your attitude to life really is incredible. Thank you for being you and enriching us all with your thoughts and positive energy.

    • Louise says:

      Hi Pete, I’m no expert but you clearly have excellent writing skills which will impact any job and company you work for. Obviously you are intelligent also. Can I suggest approaching companies you are interested in working for rather than just applying for jobs. If you have a particular skill which you think would benefit an organisation offer them your services. Maybe you could set up a new division for them? Just idea but look at developing partnerships, rather than looking for jobs. Good Luck.