I came across a wonderful story to illustrate this which I feel I must share and help others understand how limiting subconscious beliefs learned in childhood can hold us back in adulthood. A big thank you to Kain Ramsey who told the story long before me. This is my version.
A tourist visited a site in India where a huge elephant moved heavy logs about. The tourist was amazed at how the mahout communicated with the elephant in getting it to lift the logs and move them to the right place. It was near the end of the day and the tourist watched the elephant go back to where it rested overnight expecting to see some large secure enclosure. But the mahout simply put a small chain round one of the elephant’s feet and attached the other end to a spike in the ground and the elephant just settled down.
The tourist looked at the chain round the elephant’s foot… then at the spike in the ground. ‘This is a strong powerful elephant who had been lifting heavy logs all day, surely the little chain and spike wouldn’t be strong enough to hold it?’ The tourist put this question to the mahout who replied that he had bought the elephant when it was very young. The young elephant had been secured in the same way by the chain and had fought against his imprisonment. It had tried and tried but eventually the elephant learned to accept the chain would hold so it gave up trying to break free. This belief of the chain restraining it remained with the elephant even after it had become an adult. Despite its great size and strength the elephant never questioned the belief learned in childhood, so never tried to break free.
The analogy is obvious, we learn limiting beliefs in childhood which we take into adult life and never consciously question them, we just accept there are some things we cannot do, so we never try.
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