“If you think you can or you think you can’t -you’re right!” Henry Ford. Principle 5 in The Success Principles by Jack Canfield and Janet Switzer is “believe in yourself”. In that chapter Canfield refers to the negative power of the phrase “I can’t”.

Remember the story of the little engine that could? The little engine had to get a huge load up a huge hill. It seemed like an impossible task, but he kept trying and as he tried he said, “I think I can. I think I can…”, until finally he made it.

I often feel like that little engine with one unfortunate difference. I hear another voice trying to cancel out my “I think I can” refrain. It is the insidious little voice of the conductor whispering, “No you can’t. No you can’t”. And her voice sounds an awful lot like mine.
When I decided to quit the rat race and make my living without a job, I expected opposition. I expected negative voices coming from my family and my well meaning friends. But they all surprised me with their encouragement and support. (I believe I got encouragement in part because many people secretly share my dream of making a living without a job). No that voice that says, “You can’t make it,” comes from inside me. I have to work every day to drown out that voice. I have to keep my goals front and center and tell myself over and over that “I can!”

I carry a stack of 3” X 5” cards in my purse with my goals written on them stated as if they have already occurred. An example would be: “I am so excited that my book, Stress and the Single Mom has become an instant best seller and that Jay Leno has invited me to be his guest on the Tonight Show. (Feb 19, 2007). I review these goals and say affirmations each morning and each night. And whenever I find myself having to wait in line at the grocery store or the bank, I whip out my handy cards and go over them again.

I know I will make my dreams come true. I am already living them in so many ways; but I still have to work at being positive each and every day. It is not as if I can conquer one success principle and then move on to the next. It is an on-going daily commitment. And it is worth the effort.

Every day my “I can” voice gets clearer and louder. And every day, that negative little whispering voice is gets fainter and weaker. So I know I am making progress.
I don’t know if I will ever totally silence that conductor but he has definitely been demoted. I am the conductor now.

Author's Bio: 

-- Jeanne Russell is a mother writer and entrepreneur, She is founder of www.jeannerussell.com ( a website devoted to self-improvement and success) and also www.stressandthesinglemom.com.