Friday, September 30, 2011

The Elephant and the Rope

This is a rather well known story worth retelling.

In Thailand, they have a simple way to keep the elephant – a huge animal, much larger than its keeper – docile and under control.

When the elephant was a baby, the keeper ties the baby elephant with a strong rope to a tree. Of course, the free spirited, uninhibited baby elephant will try to escape but it is held back by the rope. The baby elephant will try to break free, time and again, tucking hard at the rope that would not break.

After a while, the baby elephant is exhausted by its futile efforts. Its once free spirit is broken. It believes that there is no hope. It yields and just accepts its assigned position and situation.

This hopelessness and learned helplessness stay in the elephant’s unconscious mind even when it grew into an adult – a strong, huge, hulking animal.

Even when the adult elephant can snap the rope with just one casual tuck, it will make no such attempt. So strong is this limiting belief that has been etched in the unconscious mind of the elephant.

Are there any limiting beliefs holding us back like the elephant? Are there setbacks in our childhood that still have a hold on us like the baby elephant’s rope?

Does aggressive hot-housing in East Asian schools leave a trail of children who buckled under the crushing work load and pace, with lifelong self esteem problems?

Whenever you balked at a challenge, ask yourself if you are being held back by a limiting belief or assumption, carried over from a bad experience from your childhood or just one unfortunate episode from long ago.

Isn’t it time to break free of the imaginary bond of that limiting belief?

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