Could. Would. Two words which rhyme and, at first glance, have a similar meaning too. But I endeavour to bust that myth by the end of this post…

We all know Usain Bolt is the fastest person in the world, right? Well I wouldn’t be so sure.

Consider renaming Bolt the ‘fastest KNOWN man on Earth’, instead of the ‘fastest man on Earth’. What if there is someone else hiding from the daunting world of athletics who could outrun Bolt given the opportunity? He or she could be a nomad wandering in the desert with their pet camel; they could simply be living next door to you; or it could be you or me. Imagine that: Ruth Nugent, the fastest human in the world! I could get used to that…

Or even in science. Sir Isaac Newton was and still is highly admired and Google tells me he is one of the most foremost scientific intellects of all time. Quite rightly so. He did, after all, theorise gravity. However how can we be certain that none of the six million others alive at the time (or previously) thought that SOMETHING surely pulled the apple DOWN rather than up? Another man or woman could have envisaged that simplistic idea but modesty or lack of conviction their voice. Or even if they did preach their thoughts, it could have been misheard or ignored by a domineering rival.

Or in Art. On numerous occasions I have snubbed a piece of artwork in a gallery, that appears pretty simplistic to my amateur eyes.

“How is that art?” I proclaim, turning my nose up dismissively. “I could do that.”

But ‘could’ is the key word. Maybe I could paint a 4 foot canvas with multiple splatters of paint. But would I really spend my precious time doing that? No. Maybe a select few in the world could outrun Bolt given the chance. But would they work as hard as Bolt has done to attain his status? No. Maybe someone else did theorise gravity prior to Newt. But would they have pursued their beliefs with conviction, practically bundle it down the throats of other scientists in order to gain enough attention and support? Evidently not.

I am all for the belief that we do whatever we want to do; become whatever we want to become; go wherever we want to go in life. But whether we get there is our own responsibility and our’s alone. Not teachers, parents or even luck. If you want something badly enough, YOU are going to have to get it. But you most certainly can. Being a ‘natural’ or ‘gifted’ in something will get you nowhere. It helps, I admit, but the ‘gift’ can only grow on a healthy diet of hard work and perseverance.

So next time, when you complain that you could have done better in that test, that you could sing better than that meagre contestant on X Factor, that you could work harder, rephrase that to what you would actually do in order to achieve it.


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