The Little Engine That Could
The Little Engine That Could was a story that inspired many of us as children. The story tells of a small engine pulling cars behind him, that was faced with a steep climb up a very large hill. Half way up the hill the little engine started to feel as though it was an impossible task. Fear set in.
"Will I make it?" the little engine wondered. "What if I don't? What if I run out of steam before I make it? What if I'm not equipped with a strong enough engine to handle this?"
The fear grew inside and his speed slowed with the climb. Soon he crawled to a stop. "I can't make it," he thought.
He was gripped with fear. Paralyzed by it. Then things got even worse. He was now slipping backwards. His fear was now his reality. The top of the hill was out of his reach, he was never going make it.

But something inside him changed. He really did want to climb that hill, not forever stuck at the bottom to live in its shadow. Fear was replaced with determination, drive and a desire to make it to the top. With all he had in him, he focused on summoning the power he needed to stop the backward slide.
And he did. He was now holding his ground on the hill. His excitement deepened his determination. He began the forward climb. Up that hill he began moving, ever so slowly, pulling the weight of the entire train behind him. He looked up toward the top of the hill and held clear in his mind the vision of making it.
His determination grew stronger. He began to know, he was going over the top. As his determination  grew, he picked up more speed. The train didn't feel so hard to pull now. He felt great strength surge within himself that he hadn't known before; it was strength he had never needed or drawed upon, before now. As he climbed the hill's summit, a gratefulness set in, that the hill was no longer an impossible task.
He had done it. The little engine made it to the top of the hill and silently thanked his builder for himself and the entire train behind him. It felt great to be at the top of that hill. Filled with joy and a passion for life, he looked down the tracks eager to continue his journey. He saw another hill... bigger than the last.
The little engine, having climbed the first hill, now understood there is no end to the hills. This filled him with a deep sense of humility. He then further realized that the journey and the destination are from the same focus. They both arise from choice and purpose, and are fueled by determination.
He wondered how was it that at the half-way point up the first hill, he felt so overcome with the task before him and yet it was in him all the time, to make it. He was strong enough; could it have been that as his fears grew, his thoughts were consumed with the vision of not making it? Had he listened to the other little engines that said that hill was impossible to climb? Failure almost became his reality.
It was when he changed his focus - alerted his perspective - that he felt tenacious determination set in. In fact, it seemed the more determined that he became, the easier the climb became. His new focus became his new reality!
He was learning just how powerful thoughts are and he would never take them for granted again. He became aware of his thoughts and he began using them to go places that he had always wanted to go, but were impossible to reach before.
Remember: You are the conductor of your own train on the tracks of life and you have within you, the capability to go the places you want to go. Don't let that first hill stop you. We are limited only by our thoughts. We are captivated or empowered by them. The elephant tied to a tent pole can't get free or the bumble bee that is not supposed to fly, except he's doing it. The difference is in refusing to give up.
What is it you want to do? Set out, dig in and never give up. Become determined and soon enough, you'll be able to say with that little engine, "I know I can!"
Heather Walter
Heather Walter is an Inner Balance Coach, Motivational Speaker and Writer located in Whitby, Ontario.
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The Little Engine That Could

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