One Thing You Should Know About the Thoughts that Hold You Back

One Thing You Should Know About the Thoughts that Hold You Back


By Angel Chernoff

Mahouts (ancient elephant keepers) typically strap a thin metal chain to a grown elephant’s leg and then attach the other end to a small wooden peg that’s hammered into the ground. The 10-foot tall, 10,000-pound elephant could easily snap the chain, uproot the wooden peg and escape to freedom with minimal effort. But it doesn’t. In fact, the elephant never even tries. The world’s most powerful land animal which can uproot a tree as easily as you could break a toothpick remains defeated by a small wooden peg and a flimsy chain.


Because when the elephant was a baby, its trainers used the exact same methods to domesticate it. A thin chain was strapped around its leg and the other end of the chain was tied to a wooden peg in the ground. At the time, the chain and peg were strong enough to restrain the baby elephant. When it tried to break away, the metal chain would pull it back. Sometimes, tempted by the world it could see in the distance, the elephant would pull harder. But the chain would not budge, and soon the baby elephant realized that escape was not possible. So it stopped trying.

And now that the elephant is all grown up, it sees the chain and the peg and it remembers what it learned as a baby – the chain and peg make escape impossible. Of course, this is no longer true, but it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that the 200-pound baby is now a 10,000-pound powerhouse. The elephant’s self-limiting thoughts and beliefs prevail.

If you think about it, we are all like elephants. We all have incredible power inside us. Certainly, we have our own chains and pegs – the self-limiting thoughts and beliefs that hold us back. Sometimes it’s a childhood experience or an old failure. Sometimes it’s something we were told when we were younger.

The key thing to understand is this: We need to learn from the past, but be ready to update what we learned based on how our circumstances have changed – as they constantly do.

In other words, we have to learn to think better about the past and present, so we can ultimately live better from here on out.

If you’ve been holding yourself back recently with your own version of a chain and peg, realize that the real battle is in your mind. And your mind is under your control, not the other way around.

You may have been broken down by adversity or rejection or stress, but YOU are not broken. You are not stuck! So don’t let your mind, or anyone else, try to convince you otherwise.

Heal yourself and grow by refusing to settle for the way things have always been.

Choose to take up a lot of positive space in your own life today. Choose to give yourself permission to meet your own needs. Choose to honor your feelings and emotions. Choose to make self-care and personal growth top priorities!

Choose to think better about yourself, so you can live better in spite of the challenges you face.

And YES, I know that’s sometimes much easier said than done.

Thinking better takes guidance and practice… It calls for a process of perspective change. Truth be told, inner peace begins the moment you take a new breath and choose not to allow an uncontrollable event to dominate you in the present. You are not what happened to you. You are what you choose to become in this moment. Let go, breathe, and begin…


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