Breaking the Shackles


Have you ever wondered as to why the strongest land mammal on earth, the elephant, which can uproot a tree as easily as you and I, can break a toothpick, remains tied down by a chain tied to a flimsy peg?

This is because, when the elephant is a baby, the elephant trainer puts a cuff around the baby elephants leg and chains him to a heavy object. The baby pulls and pulls on that chain. The chain bites into his leg and causes pain as it starts to bleed and hurts him. It takes less than 2 months for the elephant to believe, that as long as that chain is on his leg, he cannot break free and can go nowhere. It is commonly known as the elephant chain syndrome.

So, when the baby elephant grows and is not a baby anymore; he is a 5000 kg Elephant3powerhouse, to stop him from running away, all they have to do is put a cuff around his leg, get a little wooden peg and knock it into the ground and chain him to it. Although the elephant can easily break that peg, he doesn’t even attempt it because his mind is now wired to believe (through previous childhood experience) that he doesn’t have that ability to do so. The powerful elephant is on the path of obeying fear.

Childhood trauma leads to brains wired for fear. The key lesson here: ‘It is crucial how the young ones are taught about living in society; it should be more of a liberating experience rather than a restraining one.’

In life, we often play the role of the elephant trainer, too – as leaders, parents, teachers, colleagues or friends. It is crucial to remember to handle your baby elephants with care! Don’t be overly critical. Don’t belittle them. Don’t indulge in racial discrimination or discriminate other children. Don’t chain them to a peg!

What begins as a baffling rule for kids can grow into a hard line in the minds of adults. Jumping to conclusions, spurning opportunities for dialogue, and recklessly shaming people on social media are not the best actions for our children to emulate.

Children need to be encouraged and loved with positive words and actions. They need your reassuring words and hugs. Remind them of their strengths, their potential.

Many of us as adults too experience the elephant chain syndrome. In spite of having incredible power within us, it is sad when it’s merely our self-limiting beliefs that hold us back.

Sometimes it is a childhood experience or an early failure. Sometimes it is something we were told when we were younger which becomes our chain and peg, holding us back from doing what we are capable of doing and stopping us from achieving what is well within our powers. We don’t even try.

Whenever we take a constraint as absolute we’re keeping those chains firmly in place, and never even examining the possibility that they could be easily broken. It is not enough to just know that you could change your circumstances – you need to actually take action to do it.

So, break away from those shackles by understanding that the limitations are only in your mind. Any change just takes that first step. It is this first step that lies between you and your dreams. So all you have to do is break those shackles and release the chained elephant in you.

Remember we all have the strength of the mighty elephant, to take on the world, to dream big and to fulfil those dreams. Don’t let a mere chain or peg hold you back. Introspect and recognise what’s holding you back. Remove the shackles, break the chains, and smash the peg to the ground.

Today, think about being bigger, readjust and recalibrate, know that you are not inadequate and enjoy your new-found power.

You will soon realise you have busted through a constraint that you realised was only binding you because you believed it was.



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