Confidence Of An Elephant

I never have believed I lacked for self confidence. Maybe a little at times, but that is normal for everyone. The reason I'm writing this story is that several of my friends on EP seem to need just a little more confidence in themselves. I hope it helps all that read it, it helps me to write it.

I will tell you a story, as most important lessons I've learned, I learned through stories told to me by my respected elders.

The title of this story is a little misleading, but I wanted to get your attention.

We've all been to the zoo and the circus and seen trained performing elephants. This is just a tiny fraction of the elephants in the world. Lots of elephants in Africa. They are the Mafia of the elephant kingdom. They pretty much do as they please and people and other animals stay out of their way. This story is about Asian elephants.

In SE Asia, elephants are not a curiosity, they are work animals. They're trained, then have a "work career" of 30-40 years, just like a man or woman. They are the bulldozers, the tractors, the front loaders, the heavy trucks of the elephant world. They can go where machines can't go, they are very good at their jobs. They are well treated and appreciated. Valuable property.

When they are not working or down at the river bathing, they are kept in a kind of holding or rest area. They are chained by a chain around their leg attached to a stake in the ground. Don't want them running loose and trampling the neighbor's garden, you know.

What always puzzled me was how flimsy the chain around their leg was, so I asked about it. I asked their handler and trainer.

I asked - "Why is that chain so small? That elephant could snap that anytime he wanted to and just walk away!"

He replied - "No he can't, there is no way he can!"

I told him -"Listen man, you and I know that big bastard could do it anytime he got ready!"

He stated, matter-of-factly - "No he can't, he KNOWS he can't. He is convinced he can't!"

He explained to me how they made elephants believe in the strength of chains. When a young elephant is ready to be trained and start his work career, he is taken to the rest and holding area. The big elephants are there. They drive a huge stake into the ground. Then a massively heavy chain is put around his leg and attached to the larger stake. This is a chain even the biggest elephant couldn't break. Being a teenager, like all teenagers, he wants to be free and play with his friends. So he pulls and struggles against the chain. He might pull for hours and hours, even days, until he is totally exhausted. The big elephants are watching this and each time it reinforces their belief in the strength of chains. When it is over, the little elephant also believes in the strength of chains. He KNOWS he can never break a chain.

It makes me wonder and ponder - just how many of us are wearing chains? Chains we could break anytime we got ready to, if we only convinced ourselves we could?


DogAZ007 DogAZ007
46-50, M
5 Responses Jul 12, 2010

good one i likes

Miss Dream, you are most likely the smartest human on EP. You should be giving us lesser beings lessons and slaps up side the head. I am honored just to say I am a friend of yours. Your faithful servant., Daz

Excellent story and excellent analogy. I know that's true about the elephants...I don't know why I know but I've seen that or read that before... Wow, I'm going to mark this story. I don't want to lose it because it's a great way to remind yourself not to limit yourself or others ba<x>sed on old beliefs...unproven old beliefs. What was true once may not be true again. Oh, I love it! Thank you for writing this one. <br />
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What's an easy way to keep track of this? The favorites button? I feel like putting this in my blog...but it should go in your blog, Daz.

I do know one thing. I've got very smart friends. Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

we are all creatures of habit. also capable of brain washing. i myself often ponder about the brain how it works, how genetics play their role in influencing our genetic make up of characteristics, and exactly what makes us do the things we decide to do?