Sometimes we talk ourselves out of things. We allow ourselves to feel defeated before we even try! There’s an old, funny story, The Jack Story, that shows us how we do just that.
A salesman is in the middle of farmland in Iowa, driving home on a country road from his last sales call. It’s late at night and snowing like crazy. He’s tired and hungry. He gets a flat tire. Grumbling, he gets out of the car to get the spare tire and the jack from the trunk. There is no jack. What’s he supposed to do now? He can’t fix the flat without the jack. He decides to look for a house so he can borrow their jack. He sees the lights of a farmhouse in the distance and thinks ‘Farmers are always to friendly and helpful…I’ll go knock on their door.’ Grumbling again, he realizes he will have to cross several fields to get to the house. As he starts out he puts his foot right into a deep puddle. Yuck! Now his foot is cold and wet. He thinks to himself – “As long as the people in the house are friendly and helpful, it’ll be worth the effort.”
He climbs over the barbed wire fence to cross the first field and he tears his coat on the fence. “Damn, that was a nice coat!” Now becoming angry, the salesman stomps across the field toward the house and thinks “I sure hope that farmer wants to help me.”
The salesman falls down in the field and now has mud on his pants. He’s cold, tired and dirty and just plain mad about everything. He thinks “I bet that farmer isn’t going to want to help me – I bet he doesn’t even have a jack!” But he keeps gong because he doesn’t have any other options. As he approaches the farmhouse, the salesman slips n a pile of cow dung. He’s now cold, tired, dirty and smells like cow dung. Absolutely furious, he thinks “That farmer is probably sleeping – I’m going to wake him up and he’ll be rude and won’t help me. Well, I’ll show him…”
So the salesman storms up to the house and pounds on the front door. After a few minutes, the farmer comes to the door in his pajama. The salesman screams “Keep your damned jack!” and stomps off.