“The Little Engine That Could,” a story published for the first time in 1902, has enabled many, including my father Warren Gleason, to go on to accomplish things that others thought too difficult. The belief that one can accomplish something is a foundation for achievement. I have learned over the years that if you believe you can, you are probably right. If you believe you cannot, you are probably right. Interestingly enough, belief is a choice. My younger brother Adam shared this story with me.
Back in high school he and a friend decided to swim across the Twin Lakes in Southern Idaho in the early spring. It was only a little over a quarter of a mile, but the water was very cold. With enthusiasm, they both jumped in and began the swim. The cold was extreme and debilitating. About a third of the way across Adam wasn’t sure he could make it, yet when he looked at his friend who was swimming without hesitation, he determined that if his friend could do it, so could he. Each time when he was about to give up and turn back, he would look up and see his friend steadily swimming on and so he continued.
When they made it to the other side, his friend rolled over and exclaimed that he hadn’t been sure he was going to make it. He told Adam that each time he was about to give up he would look up and see Adam steadily swimming on and determined that if Adam could make it, so could he.
Another example of the power of belief is found in the story of Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile in 1954. Men for hundreds of years had tried to break that barrier. Yet, when Roger did it, others believed that if he could, so could they. Over the next ten years, more than 200 other individuals broke that same barrier.
Belief sets the foundation for the planning, preparation, gathering of resources and hard work required to obtain self-reliance. OSR provides a pathway to enable individuals and families to become self-reliant with like-minded neighbors while remaining debt-free. Believing this pathway is feasible is the first step in acquiring your own homestead with a house, a barn, a garden/orchard, your own well, power source, and approved sanitation. You are invited to join with us in this, “The Next Great Frontier.”
Philip J. Gleason
Director of the Academy of Self-Reliance