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The Little Engine that Could… and it’s lesson in Self Talk

One of my absolutely favorite quotes is from Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”

Do you remember the story of the little engine that could?  I haven’t actually read that story since I was in elementary school… and yet… I remember it.  I remember the lesson, it was about a train that had a big challenge to get up a really steep hill.  He didn’t think he could do it.  But he tried.  She took one step and made it that far… and took another step and made it that far… and just kept up the mantra… I think I can, I think I can… until she reaches the top… and she switched to… I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could.

That’s my recollection, from 35 years ago.  My recollection is that

Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right - Henry Ford
It’s True… “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t… You’re right” Henry FOrd
it’s a story about simply trying because you think you can… not because you know the result, but because you see the possibility and your recognize that you never will without trying.

So, I revisited the store and found it on YouTube.  It was slightly different then I recall, but mostly the same… right down to the moral at the end.  I had forgotten that there was a train that broke down and that several trains wouldn’t help, until the little train came along.

I forgot that lesson.  The lesson of WHY.  There was a big train that didn’t help get the toys over the mountain because the big train thought that they were too important to deliver toys.  There was an old dilapidated train that didn’t help … it wasn’t important enough for that train to try to help either, it was too worried about itself… then along came the little train.  The little train wanted to help.  The little train wasn’t thinking about herself, she was thinking about the kids on the other side of the mountain that wouldn’t get toys.

It is so important to have a firm emotionally charge WHY behind your actions.

Are you starting a new business?  WHY?  Yea yea, everyone wants money… but you need to really think about how that money is going to help you live the life you want to live… you need to get to the emotional and very powerful bottom of WHY you want to start a business.

Are you starting a new diet? WHY? yea yea, everyone wants to look thin or slimmer, but you need to think about how that will change your life for the better, how you will feel about yourself, the real emotional WHY.  Maybe it’s wearing different clothes, maybe it’s feeling better when you walk around this summer, maybe it’s getting rid of some aches and pains that seem to be related to some extra weight, maybe it’s just being happy to look in the mirror and have people look at you.  WHAT IS YOUR WHY.

You need to have that strong emotional reason… or you will find it very difficult to continue forging ahead step by step.

Like the little engine that could… who forged ahead against all odds because she wanted to get the toys to the kids on the other side of the mountain… You take one step at a time… one day at a time… and remember WHY you are doing it.
REMEMBER… Whether you think you can do it or think you can’t… you’re right. Just keep saying, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can… and each time, take one tiny step towards success…until you can’t help yourself and it turns into I KNOW I CAN, I KNOW I CAN, I KNOW I CAN!

Have a great day!




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