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January 2011 – Darby Rae

Archives for January 2011

Bumblebees and The Little Engine That Could

Did you know a bumblebee cannot fly?  According to recognized aero-technical tests, the bumblebee cannot fly.  The shape and weight of his body in relation to the total wingspan makes it impossible.  But the bumblebee doesn’t know this, so he goes on and flies anyway.  Sometimes, ignorance is bliss, isn’t it?

It makes me wonder what people could achieve if nobody told them they couldn’t.  Think of the Little Engine That Could…I think I can, I think I can.  Not I think I can right after I calculate an algorithm with wind speed, incline metrics and combustion force of my coal burning engine…no…I think I can, I think I can…I know I can…

If the story were written the way we raise our children (or how we talk to ourselves), the title would be different.  It might be…

  • The Little Engine That Could, Until His Mother Explained Why He Couldn’t
  • The Little Engine That Could, Until the Teacher Taught Him Mathematically Why He Would Fail
  • The Little Engine That Could, Until Her Peers Convinced Her It Was Too Risky
  • The Little Engine That Could, Until His Coach Told Him There Was Too Much Competition.

The Little Engine That Could is a great story.  It teaches our children, at a very young age, if the Little Engine could…they can too…then we spend the next 16-18 years educating them on why they can’t…right?  And those ‘tapes’ play in our heads (in surround sound) throughout our adult life.

I have four children and I made it a personal rule to never crush their dreams, not even when my son, Ben, came home in second grade with a button that said ‘when I grow up I will be a Sumo wrestler.”  His father is 5’9”; I’m 5’5’.  Chances of him being a sumo wrestler when he grew up were less than not good.  (However, this was an improvement from two years prior, when he wanted to be a fire truck…yes a truck…not a fireman…a fire truck.)  I am pleased to report, at 13, Ben has a different aspiration.

There are many accounts where mathematically, historically or realistically a goal that was set should not have been achieved, but it was.  Sometimes we are too smart for our own success.  We calculate the risks and probabilities.  We educate ourselves on every possible roadblock and systematically place them in our own way.  Or worse, we possess that one self-limiting belief that always limits our success.  Lynn Zettler of LifeAction Coaching refers to this as “Your Big But.”

If you asked 100 successful coaches—business coaches, life coaches, athletic coaches—I bet they’d agree.  We limit our own success more than any external factor.  My dream is to be a best-selling fiction author.  Do you know how many best-selling fiction novels are on the market today?  How much competition there is?  How long it typically takes an author to achieve this goal?  Me either.  It doesn’t matter.  I’ve stopped calculating the possibilities.  Won’t you join me in conquering your dreams?