We love the USA Network’s Psych. In case you’re not familiar, it features two best friends, Shawn (played by James Roday) and Gus (Dule Hill), who own their own detective agency. Shawn pretends to be psychic so they get more gigs.
On a recent episode, they were trying to prove that a polar bear wasn’t a murderer. At one point, the polar bear was in their office, contained only by a single wire. Can you contain a polar bear with a just a wire?
We don’t know. But it reminded us of a story we first read in the book, Teaching the Elephant to Dance by James Belasco. In case you’ve haven’t read it, or don’t recall, he explains how elephants are trained to perform.
Along with polar bears, elephants are one of the most powerful animals on land. So trainers begin when an elephant is still very young. They start with a really large chain, around the elephant’s leg, attached to stakes put deep into the ground.
The little elephant naturally tries to break free. Over time, though, the animal realizes it is fruitless. Eventually, the trainer can attach any flimsy rope to any kind of stake to keep the massive animal constrained.
Could the elephant pull free with just a little effort? Of course, but its physical strength is limited by its mental weakness – a weakness that resulted from the training.
So what can we learn from the elephant?
Beware of teachers!
We shouldn’t take anything anyone tells us as gospel. We should do our own research and reach our own conclusions.
We recently looked at long-term care insurance. We were presented with “facts” about why we should do it now, while we’re still (hopefully) years away from needing it.
But when we ran the numbers, investing our money and buying later was much better. They failed to consider the time value of money.
Change is incremental
Belasco’s book is about leadership. The point to the elephant story is that major changes don’t happen in a large organization instantly. The same is true for us as individuals.
These changes may be good or bad. Let’s look at a bad change; let’s say someone wants to lose some weight.
One of the first things to realize is that they didn’t get to their current weight overnight. It happened little by little, day after day, month after month.
So it can’t be changed instantly. But it can be changed little by little, day after day, month after month.
Whatever your New Year’s resolution – if you’re finding to challenging right now to keep it; and we’re nearing the point when most people give up completely – think about one little change you can make today to keep it.
Then do it again tomorrow … and the next day … and the day after that.
Once you do it with ease, without really thinking about it, pick another thing and repeat this process.
This is how you effect major change in your life over time.
It’s our natural tendency before we “learn” the ways of the world. Maybe it’s time to unlearn some things.
Don’t accept conventional wisdom. Don’t settle. Stop taking it.
You deserve more than the status quo. You’re better than that. You are powerful.
Pull up the stake. Break the chains. Go for BIGG success!
What’s keeping you tied in place?
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(Image in today's post by hisks)