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 anytime, 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.
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?
We see this a lot in our martial arts training don’t we. Students that struggle with a particular technique or requirements to advance to the next rank start coming up with reasons why they can’t do it or won’t be able to do it instead of trying to find the solution to overcome the obstacle. “I’m too old, I’m not flexible enough, my work schedule makes it impossible, my child has ADHD and so on and so on.”
If everyone would just understand that the obstacles, the struggle and the failures along the way are actually the necessary ingredients to becoming a black belt champion it would be much easier to accept and even embrace them!
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