can't-stop-smokingThere are times, and this is one of them, when any plans I have, like writing something new, coming up with brilliant  ideas, or giving up sugar for a month disappear into the ether.

Ever had a day like that?  You want to do something really badly, but somehow can’t?

Regardless of lost ideas or sugar, if I’m going to practice what I preach, I can’t really focus on what I don’t have or can’t do.

But talking of preaching, hmmm a rather nice segue into a story that I heard in Church last week.

Church and cigarettes

Jerry had been a smoker all his life and had tried umpteen times to give it up.  He’d thrown his cigarettes away, tried a patch, hypnosis…in fact every time someone had a new idea on how to give up smoking Jerry enthusiastically jumped at the opportunity to kick the habit out of his life for ever.  All to no avail.

Eventually he ended up talking to our Minister.  His doctors had said he needed to stop smoking, his health was being seriously damaged and Jerry was at his wits end…he’d already tried everything and nothing worked.

The Minister said he could help if Jerry would just do as he said.  Providing you don’t ask me to repeat all the things I’ve tried Jerry told him.

Just do what I say

Here’s what I want you do the Minister said

When you open your cigarettes I want you to say, thank you Lord I’m no longer a smoker and then when you get the cigarette out of the packet say again, thank you Lord I’m no longer a smoker, and when you put the cigarette in your mouth you again say, thank you Lord I’m no longer a smoker.

Jerry couldn’t stand it any longer.

But the cigarette’s in my mouth, I’m going to be smoking it.

Will you just do as I say?  Otherwise I can’t help you.

Okay, okay Jerry, was unconvinced.

When you light up the cigarette….

I know I say thank you Lord, I’m no longer a smoker.  Then what?

Then nothing.

But I’m going to still be smoking.

Will you just do what I’ve told you?

Jerry went home, absolutely, totally, irreconcilably unconvinced that he would stop smoking.

Four weeks later he was back to see the Minister.

I did just what you said.  Every time, I took out my pack of cigarettes, every time I put one to my lips, every time I lit one…thank you Lord, I’m no longer a smoker.  And yesterday I opened my pack, put the cigarette in my mouth but before I could light it I said…I’m no longer a smoker and threw it away.

I loved that story.  The Minister said it happened just the way he told it.

If someone tries to do something and can’t, it doesn’t mean that he can’t do it, it just means he thinks he can’t do it.

Whenever we hear an ‘I can’t’ in our head we know it’s time to turn it into an ‘I can’.

We’ve all heard stories of people who’ve been fired for a variety of reasons and they say to themselves, I’ll show them, and they go off and do something brilliant. This is turning an ‘I can’t’ into an ‘I can’.  Don’t let people give you an ‘I can’t’ instead mentally hear ‘I can’ and who knows what you’ll accomplish.

Of course for Jerry, it might have been a case of divine intervention…who am I to say?

Encourage each other.

Love Elle





Elle Sommer is the author of 4 books and a workbook. Her latest publications are a series called The Power of Consciousness, and you will find all three books in this trilogy now available on Kindle. She shares quotes, inspiration and positive vibes on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. And her greatest desire is to encourage and inspire others to create not just a good life, but a phenomenal life.


  1. Elle,

    Wonderfully inspiring article! When you write, “If someone tries to do something and can’t, it doesn’t mean that he can’t do it, it just means he thinks he can’t do it,” it feels like those words are meant just for my heart – thank you!


    • Elle

      Alex I think its wonderful that those words were meant for you….isn’t that why we do what we do? To support and encourage each other.

  2. Awesome story Elle…A clearly unconventional way to stop smoking (or any other habit). It sounds like an affirmation to me, but I’ll also go with divine intervention too! Not opposed to that. Thanks for sharing!

    • Elle

      Sounds like affirmations to me too Victor, but I’m open to it all, just as you say, I never can say how things get done…just happy that they do.

  3. Hi Elle,
    (‘t) is such a small thing…that makes such a huge difference.Thankyou for sharing this story.
    be good to yourself

    • Elle

      Isn’t it amazing David, it’s usually the small things that make a big difference.

    • Elle

      Hello Julie, so very nice to hear from you and how fantastic you’re going to give it a whirl. Let us know how it works for you. I’m imagining great things.:-)

  4. Joseph Appaloosa

    A wise man of the cloth ,your minister, to have Jerry supplant any past feelings of failure and/or the guilt thereof with GRATITUDE! Jerry wasn’t advised to do anything but be grateful, be grateful, be grateful. It feels wonderful even just to type that a few times . . . Thank you.
    Write on, Elle !

  5. Hi Elle, the article is really very nice. Everyone try to quit bad habit like smoking and try to do it as early as possible. Thank’s again for this nice story.

    • Hi Kazi…my goodness that post was written so long ago I’d almost forgotten it. I’m so happy you found it because it is a great reminder of the power within. 🙂

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