The Elephant Rope: How Your Core Beliefs can Limit Your Life

In this post, read the story about the elephants their ropes. Discover as well how your beliefs have the power to either limit or achieve your full potential in life!

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There is a story about a man who, as he was passing some elephants, suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg.

No chains, no cages.

It was obvious that the elephants could, at any time, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.

He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to escape.

“Well,” the trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size 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 man 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.

elephants tusk black and white


Your core beliefs play a major role in the decisions you make in your life.

Its impact is so huge that you can’t completely change a person unless you change his core belief.

In most cases, your core beliefs were molded and developed during your formative years.

As you grow up, you pick up your core beliefs from the people around you, from your experience, and from what you learn.

Just like the elephants, they developed the core belief that the rope tied around their feet is strong and no matter what they do, they can’t break from it.

Sadly, this is also true in life.

A lot of parents and adults tell kids about things that could affect who they are as they grow up.

When you keep on saying your child is stupid, ugly, and good for nothing or anything that could destroy their self-esteem and self-image, they tend to grow believing those things.

However, if you raise a child with praise, appreciation, and encouragement, they develop positive core beliefs, which improve their outlook in life.

Truly, the words of the wisest king resound true in all ages:

Train up a child in the way he should go,

And when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).

When you train a child in the way of God – in the way he should go – you are laying the BEST foundation in which he will build his life upon.

Those elephants, sadly, have been taught false and destructive beliefs.

However, this should not be the case in your children.

Your children will only be children once.

Once they become adults, you can never take back the time.

So, do your best in bringing up godly offspring now.

Don’t wait until it’s too late.

I think there’s no better way to end this message, but by sharing with you a beautiful poem written by Dorothy Law Nolte.

It’s an old poem written in the 1970s, but the message stays as powerful as it was today.

The title of the poem is, “Children Learn What They Live.”

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

So, don’t let your children be like the elephants in our story.

You, as a parent, have the power to direct the course of your child’s life.

And I hope you will use that power for the good of your child.