Why the Elephants Don't Run?
A number of years ago, I had the rather unique experience of being backstage
in Madison Square Garden, in New York, during the Ringling Brothers Barnum &
Bailey Circus. To say the least, it was a fascinating experience. I was able
to walk around looking at the lions, tigers, giraffes and all the other
circus animals. As I was passing the elephants, I 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. I saw a trainer near by and asked why these beautiful,
magnificent animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away.
"Well," he 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 think
the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free."
I was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds
but because they believed they could not, they were stuck right where they
Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief
that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before? How
many of us are being held back by old, outdated beliefs that no longer serve
us? Have you avoided trying something new because of a limiting belief?
Worse, how many of us are being held back by someone else's limiting
beliefs? Do you tell yourself you can't sell because you're not a
Particularly in starting or running a business, we are cautioned not to take
risks, usually by well intentioned friends and family. How many of us have
heard, "You can't do that?" These are the dream stealers who, due to their
own limiting beliefs, will attempt to discourage you from living your
dreams. You must ignore them at all cost! I am not suggesting that you
should not seek advice from qualified individuals and mentors, but that you
avoid like the plague, being swayed by the limiting beliefs of others,
especially people who are not in their own business.
Challenge your own limiting beliefs by questioning them. If you begin to
question a belief, you automatically weaken it. The more you question your
limiting beliefs, the more they are weakened. It's like kicking the legs out
from under a stool. Once you weaken one leg, the stool begins to lose its
balance and fall. Think back to a time when you "sold" someone on yourself.
We are selling all the time. You have to sell your ideas to your spouse,
your children, and your employees - even your banker. Maybe, as a child, you
sold Girl Scout cookies or magazine subscriptions to raise money for your
school team. That was selling too!
Once you realize you are, in fact, a capable salesperson, you have weakened
that old belief and began to replace it with a new, empowering one. Look for
references to support the new beliefs you want to cultivate. As in the
example of the stool, you want to reinforce your beliefs by adding more and
more "legs" to them. Find people who have accomplished what you want to
accomplish, discover what they did and model their behavior. Remember back
to times in your past when you were successful and use that experience to
propel yourself forward. If your challenge is in sales, read sales books and
listen to tapes or attend sales seminars. This is a critical area of your
business. One that cannot be undermined by limiting beliefs.
There is a technique called "fake it until you make it" that works well. I
am not suggesting you live in denial, just that you begin to see yourself
succeeding. Visualize your successes. See yourself vividly in your minds eye
making the sale and reaching your goals. Affirm, over and over, that you are
Write your affirmations daily. Of course, make sure you take the appropriate
action. As it says in the Bible, "Faith without works is dead."
Remember that your subconscious mind does not know the difference between
real and imaginary. Before you go on a sales call, take a moment and
mentally rehearse the scene, just like actors and athletes do. Tell
yourself, "I'm a great salesperson." Do this over and over, especially just
before a sales call. See the sale being made. See and feel the success. You
will be pleasantly amazed at the result. Don't take my word for it. Give it
a try. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
It has been said throughout history that what ever you believe, with
conviction, you can achieve. Don't be like the poor elephant and go through
your life stuck because of a limiting belief you were given or developed
years ago. Take charge of your life and live it to the fullest. You deserve
By Jim Donovan
Holy Quran says: "That man can have nothing but what he strives for". (Holy