Monthly Archives: August 2012

‘Can-do’ Attitude


It’s everywhere! This 5 letter phrase that is used in abundance by all sorts of employers when describing essential qualities and attributes in a potential candidate. So, what does it actually mean? According to the online dictionary this simply means being confident and resourceful in the face of challenges. Seems pretty obvious to me really, I mean, why would anyone want to employ someone who is timid and doesn’t have a clue? Anyway . . .

I thought I’d start by sharing something a bit personal about me that kind of relates to this . . . over 8 years ago I attempted and failed 5 driving tests, I also failed my theory test the 1st time! Yes, I know, she who can get 2 degrees blah blah, heard it all before, very funny. Well it was when the hazard perception element was 1st introduced and no one really knew what it was all about and I did it wrong! Nevermind, I passed with flying colours the 2nd time. Anyway, point is, I have always used the phrase “I can’t pass my test.” This, in itself, just sets me up with the right attitude for failure before I’ve even started! It is such a negative stance to take, implying that I am incapable, that it is an impossible feat I will never achieve, and I have now come to realise, 8 years later, this is simply not the case!

So, following 20 weeks of group therapy (I’ll write a post on that later – yes I am a rather complicated individual I know, even I can’t keep up!) and certain job interviews that I have been invited to, I have decided to give it another a go. However, this time I have decided to approach the matter of the test with a different stance, instead of using the phrase “I can’t pass my test,” I am now saying “I HAVEN’T passed my test,” just changing this one word changes this whole phrase from having a profoundly negative effect, to a positive one. Haven’t implies that I will, in the future, at some point, which is exactly what I intend to do.

So far I have had 2 driving lessons, and during my driving lesson today I had a bit of an experience . . . that is, I nearly drove in to a bush! It was an honest mistake, and rather hilarious. The last time I drove all those years ago it was in a car without power assisted steering . . . Today, I was creeping out of a car park on to a busy road at snails pace, turning left, so I was looking to make sure that nothing was speeding round the corner as I pulled out, and I forgot there was a low pavement and bush on the other side. As I pulled out I turned the wheel just a tad too much. The instructor just put the brakes on and grabbed the wheel exclaiming,

“Whoa, there’s a bush there . . . you’re doing the right thing by looking in that direction . . . but you just turned the wheel a tad too much and I don’t really want you driving my car in to a bush.”

“Ooops, sorry,” I replied, and we both burst out laughing. . . Oh dear! He continued to reassure me that I did the right thing by making sure that there was no oncoming traffic, and it was simply a matter of learning the feel of the car and polishing my skills again.

Now, before, all those years ago, I would have taken this to mean that I’m useless and shouldn’t be allowed to drive anyway, but this time, I just brushed it off and have been having quite a laugh about it with the instructor and my friends. Of course it was more important that I was making sure that there was no oncoming traffic, I did do the right thing! If I’d been on my own, OK, I’d ‘ve felt a bit silly and embarassed, perhaps scratched the car a bit . . . but nothing that would have been life threatening! Whereas if I’d been concentrating on the bush and not the traffic  . . . well. I’m astounded by my change in attitude over the years, a positive change I feel is for the better, and I will continue to see it that way.

So, in the context of the “can-do” attitude, I can pass exams, I can get an honours degree, I can get a masters degree, I can swim, I can dive off the 10M board, I can ride a horse, I can write a novel, I can jump a horse, I can remember my 12 X tables, I can make a cup of tea, I can get up in the morning, I can remember where I left my keys, I can cook dinner, I can reach the top shelf (OK, it may involve climbing but I can still do it unaided – there’s a can-do within a can-do -ha!) I can open jars, I can undo a tin of baked beans, I can tolerate my mother for more than 5 hours at a time (Love you really Mum), I can read, I can write, I can learn French and I can drive in to a bush . . . how’s that for a can-do attitude?