Are you an I CAN or an I CAN’T individual? Believe and achieve!

The words I CAN and the words I CAN’T can make or break you. Both statements are true. You can and cannot do anything you tell yourself you can or cannot do. What you tell yourself repeatedly you believe. The question is do you really believe in yourself and your abilities or do you listen when others tell you what you will and will not be able to do in life. The most important voice is yours.

I CAN image from the Island of I CAN and the Isle of I Can't by Jerald Simon published by Music Motivation


Are you an I CAN or an I CAN’T individual?

We all have heard countless stories of great individuals who were told they could not do something, and yet, despite everyone telling them what they could not do, they overcame the misplaced misconceptions and beliefs others imposed upon them. They believed in themselves and their ability when no one else would. They were determined and dedicated to accomplish what they knew they could accomplish. They believed it and achieved it!

This persistence enables men and women to do amazing things in their lives because they believe in themselves even, and especially, when others tell them to stop or continually remind them they are not good enough, intelligent enough, privileged enough, and on and on. The naysayers of the world continually try to cut others down while the men and women who believe in themselves and in their ability get up each time they fall. They don’t quit. They continue and improve each day. That belief is powerful beyond words. We can strengthen others with our words by telling them they are good enough, intelligent enough, and capable enough to do whatever they set their mind to do. If we think we can, we can. If we think we cannot, we won’t.

Here is a story titled “The Island of I CAN and the Isle of I CAN’T” from my book, “Perceptions, Parables, and Pointers.”

This is a short story I wrote to teach the principle of thinking positively versus that of thinking negatively.

The Island of “I CAN” and the Isle of “I CAN’T”
by Jerald Simon
from the book, “Perceptions, Parables, and Pointers.”

In a not too distant part of the world there was a big island, and a little beyond the island was a small isle. Both lands were beautiful. Both lands were abundant with natural resources and both lands were inhabited with people.

On the big island, the people were very productive and active. They never wasted their time or complained about the work they did. Everyone was very successful and accomplished so much. In addition to the great success of the people on the big island, they also had many hobbies, interests, and wonderful experiences. They lived life to its fullest. Their world was bright, beautiful, and a blessing because of their optimistic outlook on life.

Everyone on the big island believed and knew they could accomplish anything they set out to accomplish and knew they could become anyone they wanted to become. They all believed in themselves. The island was known as the island of “I CAN”.

The little isle beyond the island, however, became known as the isle of “I CAN’T” because of the negativity of the people who lived there. They, unfortunately, were not productive at all and thought they would fail if they attempted to do something they had never done before. As a result of this thinking, no one did anything because they would not challenge themselves and push the limits of possibility. To them, everything was impossible.

The inhabitants on the isle of “I CAN’T” were extremely jealous with everyone on the island of “I CAN”. They would often complain about how unjust it was and how the people on the island of “I CAN” had an unfair advantage over the people on the isle of “I CAN’T”. “I’m sure,” they would often say, “that if I lived on the island of ‘I CAN’, I would be very productive and extremely successful. Despite their complaints, no one ever suggested a plan that would help the people of “I CANT.”

One bright and beautiful day, one of the islanders from the island of “I CAN” said, “I think we could send some of our “I can” people to the isle of “I CAN’T” to help them. Everyone on the island of “I CAN” was excited. They genuinely wanted to help out the people of “I CAN’T”. Someone from the isle of “I CAN’T” found out and said, “If people from the island of “I CAN” are coming to our little isle, then we need to send people to their island as well – it’s only fair. Besides, if we live on the island of ‘I CAN’ for a period of time, we will be as productive and prosperous as they are.”

It was agreed – a group of families, men, women, teens, and children from both the “I CAN” island and the isle of “I CAN’T” traded places. It was an adventure! Now there were “I Can” islanders on the isle of “I CAN’T” and there were also “I Can’t” individuals on the island of “I CAN”. Both groups decided to remain in their new area for two years and then return and see how the groups were doing.

Two years later came sooner than either party had expected and so they decided to return and report of their activities.

The individuals originally from the isle of “I CAN’T” sadly said life was as unproductive and unsuccessful on the island of “I CAN” as it had been for them before on their own isle. At first, they felt as if they could change when they saw how excited and engaged the islanders were on the island of “I CAN.” “They make everything look easy on the island, but it’s not! We can’t do what they can and we also can’t stand how positive and optimistic everyone is. They honestly think they can do anything they put their mind to – simply by believing they can and then doing it”, one of the “I Can’t” individuals said.

Next, one of the “I CAN” islanders spoke up.

“These last two years have been more productive and rewarding for us. We have accomplished so much and are so amazed at the overwhelming opportunities on the isle of ‘I CAN’T’. In fact, we have had so much success working with the children and the youth and helped so many of them realize they can do anything they put their mind to. When we first arrived on the isle we heard nothing but negativity, pessimism, and complaints about what we hoped to accomplish. They all murmured that we wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything worthwhile or productive while on their isle. At first, some of our “I CAN” people were saddened and pained by their negative comments and some were momentarily downcast and felt despair – but that didn’t last for very long. We went to work and began doing things. Several of the children and teenagers had never done any work in their lives and most didn’t think they could do anything because they were all told they are “I Can’t” individuals and that they can’t be successful or won’t amount to much so they shouldn’t even bother trying. We told them that kind of thinking was wrong.”

“How dare you corrupt our youth and teach them they can do anything they believe they can!” Yelled one of the “I Can’t” men.

“We showed the children and the youth that we believed in them and gave them a little encouragement. That was all they needed. It really didn’t take very much or very long before we were surrounded by many “I Can” attitudes. It was wonderful to see the change and know that they can do anything if they believe they can. The majority of the adults are still as negative as they were before, but we have hope for the rising generation.”

Both parties debated for some time about how effective or ineffective the exchange had been and both parties decided to continue living their lives as they had before.

What did change on the island of “I CAN” and on the isle of “I CAN’T” were the children and the teenagers. Many, but not all, of the children and teenagers on the isle of “I CAN’T” began to believe, for the first time, in themselves. They began to think and say “I can” and it slowly began to make a difference on the isle. More and more “I CAN” attitudes were being cultivated and developed on the isle of “I CAN’T”. Many became very productive because of their hard work and positive belief and many were very successful in most everything they did – because they believed they could.

Unfortunately, the same effect had happened on the island of “I CAN”. Many of the children and teenagers were negatively affected by the “I CAN’T” visitors who had told them for almost two years straight that they couldn’t and wouldn’t be successful or productive in life. They discouraged the children and teens so much from setting goals and actively participating in life, that many of the youth began to believe the lies they heard. They felt they weren’t good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, or capable enough to accomplish anything and many – far too many – began to lose interest in doing their best and being their best. Some didn’t try because they believed they would make mistakes and fail. Before the two year trade, everyone on the island of “I CAN” had encouraged the children, teenagers, and adults to actively try and not to worry about making mistakes or perceived failures. Everyone knew they were only stepping stones to true success. That of course had changed.

Now both the island of “I CAN” and the isle of “I CAN’T” had “I can” attitudes and “I can’t” beliefs as well. Both perspectives were prevalent. Both groups of people were trying to co-exist and work together. The “I Can’s” and the “I Cant’s” are both correct. They can and cannot do whatever they believe they can and cannot do.


From the book, “Perceptions, Parables, and Pointers” by Jerald Simon

Perceptions, Parables, and Pointers by Jerald Simon - published by Music Motivation

Perceptions, Parables, and Pointers by Jerald Simon – published by Music Motivation

You can purchase the paperback book on my website at this link:

Get the paperback book from Amazon at this link:
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The book is also available as an audiobook on iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby, and all online music stores



I hope you enjoyed this little story and the motivational message. Please feel free to click on the image below to download a PDF version of this story that you can share with family and friends and also to teach children and teens the importance of believing the CAN do difficult things and accomplish great accomplishments in life if they believe they CAN!

Please share this with anyone who needs a motivational message to inspire them and help them be their best!

The Island of I CAN and the Isle of I CAN'T by Jerald Simon

The Island of I CAN and the Isle of I CAN’T by Jerald Simon

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