There is much to be learnt from the world around us and I’m sure training elephants may not have been a concept that you’ve ever given much attention to…
The elephants are taken by trainers as babies and forced to remain chained; attached to a pole stuck deep in the ground. Try as they might, the small elephants with little strength are unable to break away from their chain. They can twist and turn, pull and push, run, jump or heave- they are unable to release themselves.The realisation dawns on the elephant, that trying to break loose is a futile process as all attempts do not make the slightest difference to their predicament. For them, the more they try, the more hurt and pain they feel. Cuts and scratches- some deeper than others- are evidence of their effort, yet these scars begin to heal as the elephants come to terms with their situation. They are confined. They are restricted and restrained by something stronger than themselves. It seems inescapable.
Time passes and the baby elephants are no longer small and weak. They have matured into huge animals, at least 12,000 lbs, and their trunks alone are capable of uprooting tree trunks. They have more strength than their owners yet continue to serve and obey the very person that whips and uses them for their selfish benefits.
Why, with all that strength, do they not leave? Walk away from captivity? Return to freedom? Wasn’t that what they so badly wanted in their younger years?
The answer is key to understanding our own human mind. The elephants gave up trying when they were young – because the task seemed impossible. Not only did it seem impossible- it genuinely was! They resigned not to try again because they had failed so many times previously why would this next time be any different? They have put themselves in a situation where although they are no longer physically chained, they have become psychologically bound to their thinking which is clearly faulty and irrational.
Often in life we are restricted and held back by nothing but our thoughts, behaviours and mannerisms which we have been led to believe are part of us; unchangeable, and inescapable. If this is the case, then we are no different to the grown elephant who does not recognize his ability to break out of his situation by simply taping into and unleashing the power that he contains.
Now that we are aware of what we are capable of, nothing should be able hold us back. Let’s break that psychological chain and become free to discover our full set of capabilities, doing what was once impossible.