I Think I Can, I Think I Can…

Remember reading the wonderful story of the Little Engine That Could to your children or even having it read to you as a child? That story has been inspiring children first as the Pony Engine (by Mary C. Jacobs in the Kindergarten Review 1910) and then as The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper (a pen name for the publishing house) for nearly 100 years.

It is a children’s classic that teaches optimism and determination overcoming perception to young. And so many children easily grab hold of the story and live it. It is a natural function of childhood to be optimistic and see beyond limits. Have you ever gone to the Special Olympics and seen challenged children compete? So what happened over the years? Where did that child-like “I think I can” attitude evaporate to when we became adults? When did we give in to perception?

The story is simplistic for a child’s world, so perhaps we need to introduce more of what the adult faces into the story. Some adult peer pressure sprinkled with expectations should do the trick. So I humbly present my attempt at giving the classic story an adult flavor. I send it into the world with the hopes that it will inspire and motivate adults everywhere to challenge themselves and move past imagined obstacles (aka excuses.)


One day an adult engine dreamt that he too could do what others had done before him, climb over the hill and down into the valley of Good Life. He had been reading and the idea that came to him seemed perfect and something he could do. As he was going about his daily routine on the tracks, he began to ask others what they thought of his ideas on how he could make it over that hill and to Good Life Valley.

So between his tasks, he watched for anybody he knew to try out his ideas on.

He came across the wise passenger train that had always been a comfort to him and many of the trains highly regarded what he said. He approached respectfully and mentioned his idea.

“Do you think it will work?” he asked.

“Well I think it is possible, certainly. But you need to ask yourself if you are fulfilling your purpose here with this fanciful desire. We all have a purpose and we find our happiness in fulfilling that purpose. Our purpose is to be of service to others as trains, this idea doesn’t serve anyone but you.”

The engine left feeling guilty and selfish. He was glad he could serve. He never missed his daily track duties and was the most pleasant engine on the line. He knew he did a good job and went out of his way to do his best.

Before long he spotted his friend, the coal train resting alongside the tracks. He shared his idea with less excitement this time and held his breath for the reply.

She had heard of other such ideas, sure. “What concerns me is the fact that all these trains that have supposedly made it over the hill we have never heard from again. It makes me wonder what danger must be on the other side that nobody returns or even sends word. Personally, I wouldn’t want to go over the hill.”

So the engine left his friend feeling guilty and scared now. His day was progressively getting worse. How could he have thought his idea was so great this morning?

He was slowly moving down the track when his brother train waved to him. He pulled up next to his brother. “You look depressed, what happened to you?” The engine thought to himself that of everybody in the world, his brother knew him best and could help him.

So he sadly shared his idea and how he felt guilty for thinking outside his purpose and he felt scared now. His brother slapped him on the back and said, “Buddy I have known you all your life, you have never been happy, always wanting more, never settled, always reaching. I figured you would get over it and learn to appreciate everything you’ve got.”

The engine sadly replied “I do appreciate everything I have, I am very grateful. I just can’t stop thinking of Good Life Valley. If it is possible to move to Good Life, I really would like to.”

“Well, what makes you think that you will be any happier in Good Life Valley than you are here? It won’t be enough either.”

The engine left his brother confused and disheartened. It seemed that he should just forget his ideas and learn to be grateful, appreciate what he had right here. Not risk the danger on the other side of the hill. Learn to be happy fulfilling his purpose.

Over the next few days he tried to forget his silly ideas and just do his duty. He found he was just not happy, as if a part of him was dying. So he sat down and had a talk with himself. Maybe he never was going to be like the passenger train, his world was more than fulfilling a duty or purpose. Or perhaps he had a different purpose. And he wasn’t like the Coal Train, he felt the risk was worth the attempt because if he didn’t try he would always feel disappointed in himself. And his brother was content with running the same tracks day in and day out. That never was for him. So what if Good Life Valley wasn’t the end of the line for him? Who said it had to be.

So the engine decided to do everything he could to successfully make it over the hill. He rushed on home and mixed together that special fuel he had thought of, it should be enough to get him over the tall hill. He wasn’t going to wait until morning even, because he may change his mind by then. He chugged the new fuel and let it settle a little bit. He could feel it kick in.

He took off and picked up speed the closer he got to the hill. He wouldn’t even allow himself to think of anything else except that he was going to Good Life Valley. He came to the top of the hill and peeked over…nothing dangerous other than a steep descent, but there was a beautiful valley before him!

He made his way into Good Life Valley before dark and he was greeted by many others who had made their way. There were entire families happy and excited to have him join them. Oh sure, they had sent messages back to their friends and families but nobody would believe them how easy it was and how special a place it was. They always had an excuse to not even try to make it over the hill.

Author's Bio: 

I am a Life, Transition, Environmental and Spiritual Coach. I am trained by Coachville, have nearly twenty years Corporate Business and Department of Defense experience, possess a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration (Management emphasis) and also a Bachelors of Arts in Sacred Theology. I am a Reiki Master/Teacher and spiritual intuitive. All my life, even in high school, I was coaching the people who crossed my path, only then it didn’t have the title “coaching”. Find out more at www.AbundantLivingCoach.com about how you can empower your life for abundance. Material is being added regularly to the website, including ebooks.