The elephant and the rope


This is the procedure adopted by circus trainers to ensure that elephants never rebel – and I suspect that it is also what happens with a lot of people.

When still a baby, the elephant is tethered by a very thick rope to a stake firmly hammered into the ground. The elephant tries several times to get free, but it lacks the strength to do so.

After a year, the stake and the rope are still strong enough to keep a small elephant tethered, although it continues to try, unsuccessfully, to get free. At this point, the animal realises that the rope will always be too strong and so it gives up.

When it reaches adulthood, the elephant can still remember how, for a long time, it had wasted its energies trying to escape captivity. At this stage, the trainer can tether the elephant with a slender thread tied to a broom handle, and the elephant will make no attempt to escape to freedom.

Told by Paulo Coelho.

2 thoughts on “The elephant and the rope

  1. Well very very true. somewhat applies to me as well. the previous failures do keep the humans from trying harder in future. sometimes i too tend to forget that with more practice we become close to success.

    1. Yes, it happens to most of us one or the other time. but when we realise this, we are ready to break the rope and get free. It is an awareness that is most important and the very first step towards that freedom!

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