MANY of you will be familiar with the children's story, The Little Engine That Could, the story of a train that made it to the top of a mountain through the power of positive thinking and incredible self-belief.
This is a great moral lesson for us to take into our lives and not just to read to our kids, hoping they will "get it".
In the story, the Little Engine, when faced with the crisis of the mountain, continually tells himself: "I think I can, I think I can!"
This is powerful language that allows a great deal of focus on the goal. But could it be made more powerful? I believe so.
The challenge then is to find a new edge with the words that we tell ourselves.
Many people focus on the negative. They think the worst, believe the worst, and speak the worst.
That way, when something bad happens, they don't get disappointed. Perhaps you have met someone like this.
They are rarely cheerful, and usually are quite satisfied with being in a very stuck place in their lives. They usually put up with a lot and then justify why it is right to do so.
Their Little Engine language is: "There's little point in trying because it probably won't happen."
Life for them is based on a sense of entitlement, waiting for good things to be served up to them on a silver platter.
But let's get back to the positive. The "I think I can" words are great for people who connect with thinking, with the logical, matter-of-fact, black and white, right and wrong, rational world.
However, I would challenge that this does not always work.
As much as we might like to pride ourselves on our intelligence, our intellect makes very little impact in our day-to-day decision making.
Much of our decision making instead comes from our emotional and instinctual faculties, and these often centre around our beliefs.
It is from our beliefs that we determine what we will and won't do in life and we construct all sorts of stories around this to justify what it is that we believe.
So, what if your little engine started saying "I believe I will, I believe I will"?
Some examination of what it is you believe, and being clear on what it is you want to achieve, would be essential, but with the power of these words, imagine what you could accomplish in your life.
After all, what would you do with your life if you knew you could only succeed?
Paul Stewart is a personal coach with Compassion Coaching, compassioncoaching.com.au, and also supports the inSight Men's Circle, run through Hopelink. Phone 4979 3626.