By: Jeff Katz – March 2013
I am reminded about the manner in which some large animals, especially elephants, have been trained over the years. If you scour the internet for photographs of elephants in India, you will often see a small string tied around one of the animal’s ankles. It may be red or blue or yellow but it’s there and it usually is not much thicker than a shoe lace. It is not necessarily tied tightly, but it is knotted and in contact with the elephant’s skin. The string is not decorative; it is the mechanism by which the elephant is controlled, believe it or not.
As young calves, the elephants are chained with a very large, very heavy and very secure chain which is bolted to the ground. No matter how strong the calf, it is not strong enough to break the chain or rip the post out of the concrete. The elephant, a very intelligent creature, quickly learns that it is being held firmly in place by this anklet. After a few times pulling at the chain and attempting to break it, the elephant comes to a place of resignation and acceptance and simply stops trying to break free. At this point, the trainer is able to replace the heavy bolted chain with a smaller one and then a smaller one until eventually just the shoe string becomes enough to keep the elephant in bondage.
Elephants and people are a lot alike. We both have long and powerful memories. We both are all too willing to believe that we cannot do something simply because at one time that may have been the case. I would urge you to take a look at yourself and see if your shoe laces are functioning like chains.
Break free of your past shackles, embrace your inner strength and seek your own personal goals.
Jeff Katz is a motivational speaker and is available for speaking engagements. You can reach him at