Jake was travelling in India, absorbing all the exotic sights and sounds of a new land. He loved the food, the culture and the wildlife. When it came to animals, none impressed him more than the elephants. He watched how the mahouts handled them as they worked. He was in awe at the way an animal weighing 4 tons and able to shift huge loads could also move so delicately. When it walked, it placed each hind foot exactly where the front foot had been.
When it was time for the elephant to stop work, it was tied to a small tree or a handy fence post. Jake was intrigued – surely the elephant could easily uproot these and wander off. He asked one of the mahouts about it. He was told that the elephant had been tethered like this ever since it was young. Back then it didn’t have the strength to get away and, as we all know, an elephant never forgets. It still believed that it could not free itself.
An elephant has the biggest brain of all land animals and typically lives to about 70 years old, a coincidentally similar life-span to humans. Yet through most of its life, it forfeits its freedom because of a mistaken belief. This can be a warning for all of us.
We can be tethered by out-dated beliefs. Conditioning that we inherited years ago can still limit our achievements. We can be shackled by a misguided sense of consistency that dictates we must behave the same way as in the past. To liberate ourselves – to get out of the rut – we need to forget the stake we are tied to. We have the power to break free.
Freedom is only a single thought away. When you switch your attention to what you can do – your full repertoire of strengths and talents – you will find exciting new possibilities where previously there had been only impossibilities. If you had that freedom, what would you do?