The Parable of the Elephant Rope

As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at any time, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.

He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”

The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.


How often are we like the elephants in the story? How often do we have mental ropes around our legs that are holding us back from trying?

Sometimes it stems from having been told we can’t do something or being told we aren’t capable of something. Other times it comes from stems from having tried once and failed at something and now we are convinced that we just can’t do it. All we see is that rope around our leg holding us in place.

What we BELIEVE about ourselves is the MOST POWERFUL thing in this world. We have a choice to believe. We can make the decision to break free from any perceived ropes that have been holding us back and go for the things we actually want. We just have to choose to believe!

Figure out what the ropes are that have been holding you in place and cut ‘em. And then go have an amazing day!

~Amy Rees Anderson


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