Lucky Irani Circus

In childhood, once I happened to watch Lucky Irani Circus. They’d come to our village on the eve of annual fair. I was very excited to see a giant elephant but I was surprised that the giant animal was just tied with a small chord which even a goat could break. It was very intriguing. I kept on thinking but didn’t find the answer. At a very later stage, I came to know that there was an interesting method of training the elephants. The mahout attaches a small chord with the leg of baby elephant; the chord is a little stronger than the inherent strength of baby elephant. Initially the baby tries to break away but is checked by the chord. Slowly the baby ‘learns’ that it can’t break away from the chain it’s tied with. And he retains this learned helplessness for ever and hence never tries again to break away. That’s the reason you see big elephants tied with small rope and completely ‘in control’.

Like elephants, we also learn helplessness and remain tied to the crippling chains of past experiences and events. Our mahouts—–our parents, friends, associates, colleagues and spouses tie us with the chords of their opinions and suggestions and then we remain tied with them for ever, little realizing our inherent potential to perform miracles. The grown-up elephant can dismantle iron chains with little exertion, but he never tries. Similarly we can do wonders but we never try.

From The Craft of Selling “Yourself” by Ashraf Choudry