Elephant On A Rope

Updated: Nov 21, 2020

Here’s one of the deepest short stories I’ve ever read. The author of it is unknown but its message is of great importance.

As a young lady was walking through an elephant camp, she suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge powerful creatures were not being held in cages or by chains but by only a small rope tied to one leg. No chains? No cages? It was obvious to her that the elephants could, at any time, break away from the ropes they were tied to but for some reason, they did not.

The young lady saw a trainer nearby and asked why these beautiful, magnificent animals just stood there and made no attempt to getaway.

“Well,” the trainer said, “when they were very young and much smaller we use the same size of 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 young lady 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? How many of us are being held back by old, outdated beliefs that no longer serve us? How many of us have avoided trying something new because of a limiting belief? Worse, how many of us are being held back by someone else’s limiting beliefs?

Ponder these things today. Reflect on any rope that is holding you back and making you feel stuck. Then, go beyond that fear and/or limiting belief and be free!