The Little Engine That Could

“The Little Engine That Could.” is one of those marvelous children’s stories that stays with you.

I’m 74 years old and still, to this today, when faced with difficulties, I often find myself remembering a picture of the little engine chugging down the mountain saying, “I knew I could, I knew I could.”

The story first appeared in 1930. There have been many versions through the 80 years.

As a trainer, teacher and psychologist, I don’t know that I can give you a better example of how to persevere and overcome obstacles.

If you haven’t read it, do so today. It’s free online.

Life is always full of obstacles and problems and all to often we just give up on our dreams and as the saying goes, we live out our lives in quiet desperation. How sad.

Vince Lombardi:
“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack or strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.”

Obstacles get in the way and your “I think I can” may get weaker. This is the time to persevere. Push yourself into action. Never give up. Like the little engine, keep on chugging.

Albert Einstein:
“It’s not that I’m so smart. It’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

When the Universe sends you a creative idea, you often start out with the thought. I wish I could, I wish I could.

As you play with the idea and kick around ways to achieve it, you begin to image you can do it; “I think I can, I think I can.”

At some point, after you’ve reached the goal; you’ll be chugging along singing “I knew I could, I knew I could.”

The story is a great example of how to keep going when the going gets tough. I like this Japanese proverb:
“Fall seven times. Stand up eight.”

A Desire is a creative idea that comes to you. It’s your inner voice talking to you urging you to start chugging toward your goal.

These are the steps you need to take to reach the other side of the mountain:
1. Clarify your goal - write it down, get it clearly and concisely on paper. If you don’t know where you are going, I guarantee you, you won’t get there. The goal for the little engine was to get the load up and over the mountain. Great symbolism
2. Commit to achieving your goal - Like the little engines, song “I think I can.” Commit to doing what it takes to get up and over your mountain. Reach your goal.
3. Create a plan - A man must have a plan. Write down your plan, step by step, how are you going to achieve your goal?
4. Visualize - mental imagery is potent stuff. During your meditation time, take a moment to clearly see your goal, see it as fully achieved. It works.
5. Start - This is the hardest step for most of us, it is easier to think, plan and scheme than it is to actually begin. Do some actual footwork each day, even if it’s as simple as making one phone call. Start.
6. A journal - Take time each day to write in your journal. Learn how to journal. This is an often overlooked, powerful technique for achieving your goals and actualizing your dreams.
7. Persist, Persist, Persist

Why should we stay with the struggle? Because when we succeed it helps us remember that success is merely a failure turned inside out.

We need a challenge to be fully alive and we set goals because we have the will to succeed.

Brian Tracy:
“Sometimes your greatest asset is simply your ability to stay with it longer than anyone else.”

When a difficulty presents itself be prepared. Practice visualizing your success.

Visualize yourself conquering your mountain. Keep on chugging.

The little engine puffing up the hill symbolizes the essence of not giving up.

I hope at the end of my journey I’m singing “I knew I could, I knew I could.”


So it seems that one method for reaching life’s goals would be to remember the “Little Engine That Could” and keep on chugging.

“The mighty oak was once a little nut that stood its ground.”

Do you have an “I wish I could?” Then go to work, start chugging up the hill to success.

Mahatma Gandhi
“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”

Copyright © Wee Dilts 2010

Author's Bio: 

Wee Dilts is a counselor, psychologists, a metaphysical trainer. A teacher of self improvement for years. She has helped thousands with her Free articles and Ebooks on how to change your life. To get Free self help articles visit