Learning and Development Academy

a development programme for schools and charities

The Chained Elephant

The Chained Elephant

13th April 2015
One of the key determinants of whether or not we achieve the goals we set for ourselves in life is to what extent we believe success is possible for us.

To embark upon any particular goal whilst simultaneously holding a limiting belief about achieving it is like trying to swim against a fast flowing river - no matter how hard we try, the current is always pushing against us.

Self-improvement coach and success guru Brian Tracy sums this up in what he calls "The Law of Belief". He states that "Whatever you believe, with feeling, becomes your reality; you will always act in a manner consistent with your beliefs."

This is much like the story of the "Chained Elephant", where a huge elephant can be held in one place by a chain around one leg attached to a stake in the ground. The elephant could quite easily tear the stake out of the ground or break the chain if it wanted to but it doesn’t. The reason it doesn’t is because it has been chained this way since it was young, when it actually couldn't break free. The baby elephant tries and tries to break free initially, but soon learns that it's futile and so gives up. From that point on he knows that when he is chained to a peg, there is no point trying to break free. Although the full-grown elephant could easily break free, he doesn't, because he doesn't believe that he can. His mind has been trained that when he is chained, he can't get away.

And so it is with the human mind and Limiting Beliefs – we subconsciously chain ourselves to our own internal “pegs” and then act as though we can never break free from them.

The good news however is that our beliefs do not have to be fixed. Beliefs can be challenged, which in turn alters our perception of the truth. This in turn expands the possibilities open to us in our pursuit of personal growth.

The following short clip in the left hand sidebar provides a powerful and uplifting message to share with your students.

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