I can. I will. I did.

The Little Engine That Could

One of the classic children’s books of all time came out nearly 100 years ago – The Little Engine Who Could. It lays out the exact way that most of what is worth pursuing in life is attained.

Life seems to be designed to get us to either give up our goals or to give in to the resistance that we all face on a daily basis. Chances are pretty good that even today there will be a significant opportunity to feel so frustrated that you’re ready to throw in the towel. Our quality of life and general sanity improves when we accept the reality that life is incredibly difficult and usually unfair. Once we’ve settled on the fact that life can be conquered our ability to live life with confidence will kick into gear.

The little red train came to three conclusions – the same ones you and I can arrive at as we venture forward.

“I can.”

Decide from the getgo that it is possible to win. The beginning of a victory is to throw down the gauntlet and say in effect, “No matter the appearance of things, this can happen – this is possible.”

Confidence is the most potent personal asset that you and I can have. With enough of it, there’s almost no limit to what we can accomplish. Without it – nothing much gets done, and what little does is incredibly draining.

With confidence, we can dictate into our futures – where we are going, that we can do what we feel God is doing. Without a specific plan, complete with the desired crystal-clear outcome that we are shooting for, chances are good we will be under. When you and I make a determination that we are going to do differently, we set in motion wheels that will bring change. Before we can go forward in any way, God requires that we have attitudes that cry out that we are open to change.

“I will.”

Make a determination to do what it takes to win no matter the cost.

When John F. Kennedy announced that we would put a man on the moon by the end of the 60s decade, he had not gone to the trouble of clearing his vision with NASA – the ones who would convert the idea into reality. If it had not been for him dishing out an outlandish, nearly insane-seeming goal who knows how long it would’ve taken for us to get to the there. If the president waited for Congress to vote on the matter to give permission for NASA to start, chances are good they’d still be discussing the topic more than fifty years later.

“I did.”

Once the little train got to the crest of the hill and began his victory dissent he cried out “I knew I could, I knew I could, I knew I could!”

Part of the joy of doing life is reflecting on the successes we’ve had.

Have you had a decent win lately? Rest in the satisfaction that you pulled it off. With each achievement, we build our confidence and become more likely to continue to flourish. Little in life is doable until we have sufficient faith, but with it, there is no telling how much momentum can gather around us.


Steve has spoken, mentored and modeled to churches and leaders around the world with the simple message that anyone – regardless of their gifting or experience – can be involved in bringing God’s loving kindness to others. His first book, Conspiracy of Kindness has been translated into several languages with more in the works. His first book has sold over 300,000 copies. Altogether his books have sold over 500,000 copies.