Have you ever gone to a circus and noticed that the huge elephants are restricted from wandering off by a small chain around one leg which is anchored with a mere stake in the ground?   We all know that elephants are extremely powerful animals and because of their size, they could easily exert just a tiny bit of effort to free themselves.  But they don’t!


You see, the elephant doesn’t believe that he can break free because he has been conditioned otherwise from birth.  The chain and stake held him back when he was young.  And even though he grew into an adult of over two tons in weight, he still continued to think that he was helpless to move beyond what the chain and stake allows.


I have written previously about jumping fleas that can jump over fifty times their weight.   When put in a mason jar with a lid screwed on tight, however they bang their heads on the lid so often that they finally give up trying.  Eventually, you can remove the lid and the fleas can’t jump out of the jar!  They are conditioned to the point that they lose their ability to jump high.


In the past, I also have written about the woman who went to the butcher asking for a ten-pound roast with a couple of inches cut off the end.  When questioned about this strange request by the butcher, the woman replied, “That’s what my mother also orders”.  When the mother was questioned, she replied, “That’s what my mother orders”.  Finally, the grandmother was able to provide a reasonable answer.  She said, “My roaster is too small for a ten-pound roast”.


How many times have we been like the elephant, flee or third generation who just does things that don’t make sense?    All of us have been raised or conditioned by family members, friends and society to accept beliefs without question and maybe it’s time to think deeper about this.


Here are a few of the beliefs that might hold you back if you aren’t being open- minded:

  1. I’m too old (or too young) to do something.  When Colonel Saunders first franchised his Kentucky Fried Chicken organization, he was 62 years old.  Tatum O’Neal was 10 years old when she won an Oscar for acting.  Perhaps you are just the right age.
  2. I’m too poor. Think for a minute about Mother Theresa who took a vow of poverty when she became a nun and spent her life helping others who were poor.  Everyone knows her name but not because of her material wealth.  Maybe you don’t need money to impact others or maybe you have just enough!
  3. My health is not good. Every Canadian and most individuals throughout the world know the name Terry Fox.  In his early twenties, after a leg amputation, he set out on a run across Canada to raise money and awareness for cancer research.   What can you do with the health that you have?  Start with a smile for yourself and everyone you meet.
  4. I don’t have an education – A Google search reveals that there are over 16,000 universities programs in Canada. This doesn’t count colleges, certificate training institutions and a multitude of other knowledge-based opportunities we each have available to us.  Many of these are online.  Some are funded and others are provided without cost.  I have heard of many seniors who begin their formal educational programs after they retire.  (And by the way, talking to most seniors can be an education in itself.  An education in common sense!).
  5. I don’t like change and I’m not motivated. Well, if that’s the case I guess you will need to learn to continue to live as you have been up until now.  Or you could find a mentor and give yourself a good talking to!


The important things to remember are that the old messages you are rehearsing over and over again are merely holding you back.  Conditioning that doesn’t make sense can be changed.  Belief systems can be examined and revised.


Please don’t continue to live like the elephant who doesn’t know his strength, or the flee that has been tricked into losing his best asset.  And remember to question the messages that you have adopted from others around you or soon you too will have the butcher staring at you with a strange expression!


Life is a series of choices – make good ones! (without excuses).

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