Some years ago a man decided to eat a ‘plane to prove it could be done. Why he chose that is anyone’s guess but he achieved his goal by eating a chunk every day until the last screw was digested.

George Bernard Shaw once famously said “Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream things that never were and ask why not?”

My philosophy towards life changed when I adapted to Shaw’s mindset then took things further by becoming a rat, which was inspired by Spencer Johnson’s book, ‘Who Stole My Cheese.’ He said the difference between rats and humans was that when rats discovered something wasn’t working they tried numerous options until they found a solution whereas humans found someone or something to blame and gave up.

Like most of the population, before I became a rat, I rammed myself at walls, determined to break them down, risking my health, knocking myself off balance and weakening my mind in the process.  These days I take a softer approach, knowing if it’s meant to be I will get there whether it takes a month or year.

If I’m passionate about something I don’t give up but I don’t make myself ill with stress.  I think about the man who ate a ‘plane and have developed patience and perseverance.

I no longer feel I’ve failed when I can’t find the key to fit a lock.  I think of Thomas Edison.  After his 700th attempt to create the electric light bulb, he was approached by a journalist of the New York Times.

‘So how does it feel to have failed so many times?’ he asked.

Edison smilingly replied ‘I haven’t failed once. I’ve just proved those 700 ways don’t work.’

As a rat, I get on with life without analyzing the ‘because,’ and for that I must thank my beloved teacher in India.  When I asked why something I’d strived so hard for had crumbled, he said ‘Because’.

‘Because of what?’ I asked.

‘Who knows,’ he said. ‘It’s in the past. Don’t waste your life dwelling on it.’

So I took his advice.

I love being a rat and these days have a glorious circle of rat friends. We’re all doing well in our careers but happiness is our priority so we refuse to let anxiety rule the day. Should we see what appears to be an insurmountable wall in front of us, we take a deep breath and say ‘there is no challenge without solution,’ and gnaw our way through like the proud rats we are.

Join the club and by this time next year, who knows how many ‘planes you’ll have chewed through.


Stella Ralfini is an international life coach, beauty guru and author.

Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin (and Skype for online coaching).