Stop behaving like an Elephant

Stop behaving like an Elephant

I routinely conduct photography workshops over the weekends where I teach regular folks how to take better pictures. I begin by showing them parts of my portfolio and asking them if they think they can take these kind of shots. Invariably, the reactions include “Oh, I could never take shots that good. I just want to improve a bit on my photography. I’m not a professional like you are.”

My reaction is always “Well, then stop behaving like  an elephant!”

What does that mean? You see, in India, when the baby elephants are being trained by their trainers (Mahouts), they are often tied with the thickest rope the Mahout can find and tied to the largest tree in the forest. They are then left there. For obvious reasons, the baby elephant doesn’t like this. So he pulls, tugs, chews, yanks… basically does everything he can to get away from the tree. But it doesn’t work. The rope and the tree are too much of a match for him.

Fast forward a few years. The same baby elephant is now a full grown tusker. But this time around, he is tied with the thinnest of ropes to some scrawny looking tree. But he doesn’t even tug at it. Why? Because he “knows” that he can’t get away from it. That’s a fact in his mind and it’ll stay there all his life.

Most of us have a bit of that elephant mentality as well. Have you ever caught yourself saying “I could never do that!” without even examining what it is that stops you from doing it? These are just limitations that exist only in our minds. They aren’t real… not based in reality… yet we believe them with all our heart.

I’ll admit – I’ve been guilty of making this mistake ever so often. But as I’m aware of this, I’m able to catch myself and dispel the thought. I often marvel at kids and teenagers. When they talk about their dreams, they really go the full distance. Everything is supersized! And nothing can go wrong. That’s because they haven’t lived long enough for life to instill those self-imposed fears into them. I look back at my teenage yeas and recognize it. Those were magical times – Everything was possible!

So I implore you to catch yourself the next time you say the words “I can’t”. Take a moment to assess if the limitation is real or just one in your head. Are you the only one who has put it there or is it backed by facts? And if you say “facts”, then do a brutal fact-check on that claim.

You owe it to yourself not to be an elephant. And once you’ve decided not to be one, watch in amazement as the World opens up to you.  You can now do anything (well, almost anything). You want your teenage years back? You got them!

The Warrior

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