I Can’t Do It: Why So Few Have Any Hope of Discovering and Sustaining a Wellness Lifestyle

by Bitley Shawn
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Our studies have shown, conclusively we believe, that most people can’t do it. We refer to this phenomenon as I can’t do it or ICAN’TDOIT. Once the nature of this reality is understood, those who still desire to attempt positive lifestyle changes will have a better chance for success, since a rare few can in fact do it, if somewhat gifted by favorable circumstances and aware of the difficulties. Everyone should be willing to pay attention to ways that boost success rates.


We found that living healthfully is too demanding largely because most are not prepared for the obstacles in the way. Make no mistake–if everyone could put into practice and sustain healthy choices, they would. Who wants to be sick and die prematurely? Who wants NOT to look good and have ample energy and live life to the full? If it were easy, everyone would accept responsibility for a high quality of life by choosing to exercise vigorously on a regular basis, eat well, manage stress, think critically and do all the rest. After all, wellness is, as I have long preached (in a secular fashion), fun, romantic and hip, sexy and free. It’s a richer way to be alive. Live this way and you will be stronger and better looking, have higher morale, superior bowel movement and more antibodies to resist pandemics.

You’d be a little crazy not to live this way–IF YOU COULD. However, the lamentable situation we discovered is you probably can’t, which we abbreviate as ICAN’TDOIT.

Napoleon Hill, author of the famous Andrew Carnegie formula for money-making entitled, Think and Grow Rich, studied several thousand people–and concluded that 98 percent of them were failures. This might be a little harsh and an overestimate. Still, it was interesting to think about the thirty major reasons he thought accounted for why so many fail.

When Grant and I looked at Hill’s explanations for explaining failure at making money, we concluded that twenty of Hills reasons apply as well to attempts to live healthfully, along the advanced lines of wellness lifestyles.

Here are the twenty factors so identified:

1. Unfavorable Hereditary Background. Many people are born with a deficiency in brainpower or lack of physical capacity–and there is relatively little they can do about it.

2. Lack of Ambition to Aim Above Mediocrity. People lack ambition and are not willing to put in the considerable effort required for success.

3. Insufficient Education. Hill found that the best-educated people are often those who are self-educated and get whatever they want in life without violating the rights of others. Many people have school-based knowledge, but lack the capacity to effectively and persistently apply their learning. As Hill notes, men are paid, not merely for what they know, but more particularly for what they do with what they know.”

4. Lack of Self-Discipline. Most people fail because they lack the discipline required for self-control. Hill: If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by it. You may see at one and the same time both your best friend and your greatest enemy, by stepping in front of a mirror.

5. Ill Health. Hill: No person may enjoy outstanding success without good health. Most of those Hill studied overconsumed foods not conducive to good health status, lacked sufficient physical exercise, rarely breathed fresh air and generally had poor habits of thought. Sound familiar?

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