“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”
– Henry Ford
Once upon a time, there lived a pair of twins from the Pa family. The stronger, smarter, and taller twin was named Tallo, while the other was named Nallo.
When they were little children, their mother once brought home a bag of cookies for them to eat. She placed the bag on a cabinet high up on the wall before leaving for work as she forgot that the two children couldn’t reach it.
Although Tallo was taller and stronger, no matter how hard he jumped, he couldn’t reach the cookies. He stopped trying and thought to himself: “No matter how hard I try, it’s useless. I CAN’T do anything.”
Nallo tried jumping for it too, but he also couldn’t reach it. Thinking of how he can reach the cookies, he saw the dining chair and a broom in their kitchen. He climbed on top of the chair and clumsily used the broom handle to try and reach the cookies. Although he failed a lot at first, after trying for 20 minutes, he eventually got the cookies and shared it with his brother. Nallo thought to himself: “I CAN do anything if I find out how to do it.”
As they grew older, Nallo and Tallo both went to the same school in their village. Tallo was smart enough to get good grades, but since he couldn’t get perfect scores, he stopped trying. Nallo had a hard time learning and failed the first few of his tests.
Nallo thought that he can get good grades if he tried well enough, so he asked his parents and teachers for help. While his brother was busy watching TV for 3 hours every day, Nallo spent 1 hour studying to try to understand the lessons before watching TV. Tallo never failed his tests so he didn’t study anyway.
Eventually, after several months of studying lessons every day, Nallo understood them so well that he kept getting perfect scores in tests and did very well in school. Tallo just barely passed.
In high school, Nallo and Tallo wanted to play basketball so they joined a game in their gym class. Tallo did better than his brother, though since it was their first time playing and didn’t know how to run and dribble well in court, work with teammates, or shoot the ball, they didn’t do well and lost.
Sweaty and tired from practice, the two brothers left the court and headed home. Tallo thought to himself “I can’t play basketball” and thus he never tried playing again. Nallo thought “I can play basketball better when I start practicing.”
Every weekend Nallo practiced dribbling a ball and bounce-passing it to a wall. At a basketball court near his house, he met a few kids playing and asked them to help him learn how to play. He still didn’t do well, but he kept practicing. Eventually, he learned to run and shoot well, and being friends with his teammates made him a good team player. Tallo hasn’t practiced at all and is still as bad as his first time playing.
One day, the two brothers graduated. Tallo had good grades, but Nallo, after studying and doing well every day for years, graduated as a Magna Cum Laude.
Right after finishing school, both brothers got the same job in the same fast food company. After working for a year, they noticed other people getting promoted and getting pay raises, but they both never did.
Tallo thought to himself that he will never get promoted, so he continued at his job, just doing whatever is necessary to earn money and not get fired.
Nallo thought that “I will get promoted if I become better at my job.” He started arranging his workstation so that everything he needs at work is properly organized. He organized his priorities so that it’s easier for him to do his job, help his coworkers, and assist customers. After much practice, he became faster and better at his job and got promoted.
After some time, Nallo wanted to own his own business. He thought to himself “I CAN build a business once I learn how. What should I sell? I have experience in fast food, so I can open and manage a restaurant in that street corner. I can teach what I learned as an employee and manager to my future employees and managers so they’ll learn to work better.” Thus, Nallo started his restaurant business, ran it well and expanded it to earn a lot of money.
Tallo, though he also got promoted once, thought “I CAN’T open a business. I don’t know how to run it.” Thus, he never did.
Nallo now earns a lot of money, but found that earning a lot of it is hard work. He found out that if you invest money, you can make it work hard for you.
At first, Nallo invested a lot of money from his business on a few stocks and real estate, but they all failed and he lost P200,000. Instead of telling himself that he can’t invest, he studied his investments well and learned how to choose the correct stocks and bonds, mutual funds, real estate, and many others. By buying a few books written by the best investors in the world, he used what he learned to earn millions from his investments after a few years.
Tallo wanted to earn more money through investing too but he thought to himself “I CAN’T invest. I don’t know how. I don’t know stocks, bonds, and real estate, so I won’t invest in them.” Thus, he never started investing and earned nothing more than what he got from his job.
Years and years later, Nallo has a successful career, multiple businesses, and profitable investments, simply because he thought to himself that he CAN do it and tried his best. He thought that he CAN earn success, so he worked to achieve it.
Tallo led an ordinary life with an ordinary job. He had many opportunities, but since he thought that he CAN’T take any of them, he never did. He was never successful simply because he thought he CAN’T earn it.
“What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: our life is the creation of our mind.”
This is a lesson repeated by people like Jack Canfield, author of “The Success Principles,” Stephen R. Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” and even Mahatma Gandhi, the preeminent leader of the Indian Independence movement of the 1900s:
What we believe in become our thoughts; our thoughts become our words and actions; our actions become our habits; and our habits become our destiny.
Like what Henry Ford said, whether you believe you can or you can’t, you’re right. If you think you can achieve something, you’ll try and keep trying, learning and working until you find the right way to attain it. If you think you CAN’T, then you won’t even try. Even if you do attempt it, you won’t give your best and you’ll fail anyway.
You’ll take risks or avoid them, you’ll keep going or quit, and you’ll give your best to succeed or not, all depending on the thoughts you think.
So which one of the two siblings are you most like: Nallo or Tallo? For your goals and dreams in life, do you think you can achieve them when you learn how, or do you think it’s impossible?
Whatever you think, you’ll be right.
“A man’s life is what his thoughts make of it.”
– Marcus Aurelius