Restraining an Elephant

I’ve heard it said when an elephant is young they are restrained with a small chain around one leg. The baby elephant will pull on that chain and fight to get loose but it is too small to break away from the chains.  At some point the baby elephant stops even trying because it hurts to tug on the chain. The elephant eventually believes it is impossible to break the chains so it stops trying.

The interesting part is the elephant continues to grow. In fact, it grows to become one of the largest and strongest animals on the planet yet the chain that restricts it remains the same. It is the same tiny chain that was used when it was a baby. The elephant now has the strength to break the chain with ease, but it doesn’t.  It never attempts to because the elephant has already been conditioned to believe that it can’t.

The tiny chain has become a limiting belief that keeps the elephant from breaking free.

I can’t say for certain that this is totally true or is still how elephants are restrained.  It may be a practice that is no longer used. I’m not an elephant expert, but the story is a great illustration for us.

It seems silly to us to think of a giant elephant not pulling on a tiny chain.  But that is the power of a limiting belief that we have about ourselves.

What tiny chains do you have around you?  Maybe they were put on you by someone else? Maybe you put them on yourself?  It doesn’t matter. What matters is breaking free.