Can a person truly accomplish something if you say “you can do it”?

Don’t just tell someone YOU CAN will cause that person to manifest a certain behavior. Let’s take an example, it is not enough to tell a person that he can speak a foreign language so that he can do so.

Let’s see what else a person needs to manifest a behavior:

  • 1stThe will: the person must want to do what they are told they can do, this will is related to the emotions that are activated when visualizing themselves achieving the gratifications or rewards resulting from the expressed behavior.

Returning to the previous example, if we ask the person what the advantages or benefits that speaking a second language would bring them and we invite them to visualize themselves enjoying these advantages. It is important that the person expresses what the advantages would be and not that they are established by another person, since the rewards must be identified as their own.

  • 2nd-The resources: Your brain will evaluate what resources it will need to implement the expected behavior and whether it has them or not.

In the case of our example, the person should be asked what resources they need to be able to speak a foreign language. Here are four possible scenarios:

  • Know which ones you need and have them.

In this scenario, the person should be asked if, having visualized the rewards that the expected behavior will bring them and knowing and having the necessary resources, how much more time they will allow themselves in the current state, that is, without manifesting the behavior, For example:

So how much longer will you allow yourself to not speak a second language?

  • That you know which ones you need, but you don’t have them.

In this scenario, the action would be aimed at making the person design strategies to acquire the resources that they do not have, for example:

You need time, but you don’t have it, so a strategy would be to review the order of priorities of your activities or plan your time.

  • Don’t know which ones you need and have them.

This scenario is very interesting and frequent, people are not aware of the resources they have, either due to misconceptions or maladaptive self-esteem values.

Assistance in this scenario is focused on making the person aware of the resources they have, however, not through the imposition of them (telling them if you can or you have or are) but rather by making the person visualize and experience the resources you have for yourself.

  • That you don’t know which ones you need and you don’t have them.

In this scenario we start from the unknown, so we must take the person to the scenario of the known, through information and learning, so that they can make a self-assessment.

In this scenario, it is key that the information provided is the most clear, precise and certain about what is necessary to manifest a specific behavior.

  • 3rd-Self-creation of an Action Plan: Motivate the person to create a plan of prior complementary actions to begin the desired behavior. This action plan must be consistent with the resources needed and have deadlines for compliance which must be established by the same person.


The person needs time to start studying, so their action plan focuses on reorganizing their agenda or reviewing their priorities, which they will have ready for next week.

  • 4th- Self commitment: Make the person commit to themselves to carry out the action plan developed.

Self-commitment makes the person take responsibility for the actions that they themselves developed and recognize their leading role in the advancement or not of the manifestation of the desired behavior.

As we have seen, it is not enough to just tell someone “YOU CAN” Because sometimes people try without achieving and this makes them feel like failures and useless.

I consider that WE CAN ALL as long as we want and have what it takes to achieve it.

By: Osvaldo Torres special for

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