The elephant mentality


The elephant mentality

Here s a story about George Dantzig - the famed mathematician who s contributions to Operations Research and systems engineering have made him immortal.

As a college student, George studied very hard and often late into the night. So late, that he overslept one morning, arriving 20 minutes late for Prof. Neyman s class. He quickly copied the two maths problems on the board, assuming they were the homework assignment. It took him several days to work through the two problems, but finally he had a
breakthrough and dropped the homework on Neyman s desk the next day.

Six weeks later, on a Sunday morning, George was awakened at 6 a.m . by his excited professor. Since George was late for class, he hadn t heard the professor announce that the two unsolvable equations on the board were mathematical mind-teasers that even Einstein hadn t been able to answer.

But George Dantzig, working without any thoughts of limitation, had solved not one, but two problems that had stumped mathematicians for thousands of years.

Simply put, George solved the problems because he didn t know he couldn t. You are not limited to the life you now live. It has been accepted by you as the best you can do at this moment. Any time you re ready to go beyond the limitations currently in your life, you re capable of doing that by choosing different thoughts. All you must do is figure out how you can do it, not whether or not you can. And once you have made your mind up to do it, it s amazing how your mind begins to figure out how.

A person is limited only by the thoughts that he/she chooses.


As I was passing the elephants, I 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 anytime, break away from the ropes they were tied to but for some reason, they did not.

I saw a trainer near by and asked why these beautiful, magnificent animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. "Well," he 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." I 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?
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