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Cresting 30: I think I can, I think I can

In November 2002, President James E. Faust (then the second counselor in the First Presidency) addressed the brethren of the church to put forth a little more faith in themselves. The purpose of his counsel was to remind us that, although we may feel, or seem insignificant in life, success and accomplishments are first a matter of thought, which are followed through with action.

As an opening remark, he stated, "(Brethren,) you need to understand that success — both for yourself and the church — will depend on your determination to accomplish the work of the Lord. Each of you will need to have faith and confidence to move forward."

While his comments resided mainly within priesthood responsibilities, the counsel relates to each of us and is equally important on even a more tempora

l playing field. To illustrate his point

, he recounted the story of the "The Little Engine That Could," a story each of us can recall:

President Faust said:

I first heard the wonderful story of "The Little Engine That Could" when I was about 10 years old. As a child, I was interested in the story because the train cars were filled with toy animals, toy clowns, jackknives, puzzles, and books as well as delicious things to eat.

However, the engine that was pulling the train over the mountain broke down. The story relates that a big passenger engine came by and was asked to pull the cars over the mountain, but he wouldn't condescend to pull the little train.

Another engine came by, but he wouldn't stoop to help the little train over the mountain because he was a freight engine. An old engine came by, but he would not help because, he said, "I am so tired. ... I can not. I can not. I can not."

Then a little blue engine came down the track, and she was asked to pull the cars over the mountain to the children on the other side. The little engine responded, "I'm not very big. ... They use me only for switching in the yard. I have never been over the mountain."

But she was concerned about disappointing the children on the other side of the mountain if they didn't get all of the goodies in the cars. So she said, "I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." And she hooked herself to the little train. "Puff, puff, chug, chug, went the Little Blue Engine. 'I think I can — I think I can — I think I can — I think I can — I think I can — I think I can — I think I can.' "

With this attitude, the little engine reached the top of the mountain and went down the other side, saying, "I thought I could. I thought I could. I thought I could. I thought I could. I thought I could. I thought I could."

Our biggest proponent for success or failure in life is ourselves. The decision is up to us — if we think we can, we will; if we think we can't, we won't.

In the end, I would much rather prefer to say, "I knew I could" rather than "I wish I should."