The Double-Negative Rubicon
Pay attention if you find yourself saying, “I cannot *not* do this.”
I learned early on not to use a double negative in English. I later discovered that double negatives are illuminating when making decisions.
In many languages, it’s perfectly normal to use a double negative. You might say, “No hay ningún problema” in Spanish or “Non c’è nessun problema” in Italian. In standard English, however, we don’t use a double negative. Saying, “There isn’t no problem” is, in fact, a problem!
At least most of the time. Sometimes we have to throw the grammar rules out the window.
Pay attention if you find yourself spontaneously using a double negative with regard to a decision.
Saying, “I cannot not do this” is one of the strongest signs that we should do something.
We’re not always going to reach the point of the double negative. We also still have to have the courage to follow through with that which we cannot not do. When we receive this gift of reaching the point of the double negative, it’s time to cross the Rubicon: