Training Elephants: How Your Mental Conditioning Keeps You In Chains (by James Santagata, Executive Director of APCA)
By James Santagata
Executive Director Asia-Pacific Coaching Alliance; Principal Consultant, SiliconEdge
(This is part of the No Box Thinking™ Series)
Elephants are considered one of the strongest animals on earth and in places like Thailand, it's not uncommon to see one elephant compete against forty or more men in a tug-o-war contest with the elephant easily winning!
Many elephants are also utilized in the forestry industry and it's an amazing sight to see an elephant easily and deftly pick up a massive log and effortlessly move it about like a mere toothpick.
Not once or twice, mind you, but all day long and in the scorching heat.
With such power and stamina an adult elephant could easily snap any ropes or chains used to subdue it. Yet why doesn't the adult elephant do this? And how can such a powerful animal be so easily controlled by an infinitely smaller human wielding only a stick or through the simple pressing of feet or heels into the elephant's neck or ears?
Well, it all comes down to the elephant's mental conditioning and the shaping of expectations it has received and that has been implanted into it. Many humans would call what the elephant mentally engages in to be a "self-fulfilling prophecy."
Since an adult elephant is so powerful and could easily break the biggest ropes or chains, trainers begin to condition the elephant at a very early age not only to not want to do this so but also to THINK that it is NOT able to do so. Effectively to not even consider breaking the chains or snapping the ropes as an option.
Why? Because once we deem something to be "impossible" to do, we no longer attempt it. Our own thinking and thought processes, therefore, become a set of mental chains.
The Asia-Pacific Coaching Alliance (APCA) is the #1 Gateway for Asia-Pacific Coaching Opportunities and Knowledge™.