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The Elephant Rope

As a man was passing the elephants, he 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 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 get away. “Well,” 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.

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?

Failure is part of learning; we should never give up the struggle in life.

{ 61 comments… add one }
  • Marsha Smalling September 20, 2021, 11:29 pm

    An inspiring story that can be applied to our personal and professional lives. Love it.

  • phoenix January 30, 2020, 8:37 am

    Moral of story could be, you can break through from poor parenting and traumatised conditioning. You may believe you cant do something because you were conditioned to believe that. You can flex out your life by breaking free of your fears and give it a go. You never know! You may fail to begin with, but may surprise yourself if you have faith. The road to success is paved with failure and it’s ok to fail so long as you dont let failure define you 🙂

  • Sam December 13, 2016, 2:04 pm

    “Maybe the elephants were smart enough to know if they’d escaped they’d have been shot!” Maybe the elephant couldn’t break loose from the welfare conditioning and fend for him/her self.

  • M Gopalakrishnan September 12, 2016, 9:11 pm

    Good moral story. Old beliefs have limitations. Let us overstep the boundaries and attempt to do something new. If we succeed, that will be an example for posterity to emulate. If we fail,let’s call it as experience and retry.

  • Georrrien May 30, 2016, 7:44 pm

    Cool story bro ??

  • David Young December 18, 2015, 3:15 pm

    Love this story and I will tell it and use it in life

  • Kumar August 8, 2014, 1:44 pm

    Best moral story

  • Muhammad imran July 21, 2014, 7:43 am

    Full of inspiration and motivation !

  • Robert March 15, 2014, 1:34 pm

    While when said in a context if an individual who is fully capable, the story can hold true, it is often used as a means to brow beat or shame another into action.

    Case in point, a person returning to college and must live with their parents to afford college.

    Conservatives use this story to shame the 25 year old for still living with their parents. Stating that the 25 year old doesn’t get a full time job, and attend college full time, because their the lazy elephant.

    The story maybe insperatilnal when used in the correct context, but often it isn’t or worst yet, it is used by someone who is ignorant (willful or not) of conditions.

  • Animesh February 8, 2014, 10:24 am

    The moral of the story is even that we should never trap, shoot or kill the animals.

  • Ojas January 28, 2014, 7:59 am

    Oh that’s cool man ouch ouch

  • Hannah November 22, 2013, 3:33 pm

    Good tale

  • Helary November 5, 2013, 5:27 am

    What’s the conflict? Please tell me.

  • Gupta Kamal alg September 19, 2013, 8:59 am

    Animals are equal wise as human.

  • Paul w Simiyu September 4, 2013, 10:23 am

    We tend to believe that because it didn’t happen today, it is obvious that it won’t happen tomorrow, it high time we look things at God’s perspective and realize that we are giants who are not supposed to be bound by tiny things like worries, doubts, and other, we must stand and do exploits for huber father God.

    • Nancy April 16, 2024, 12:38 pm

      I love this! Thank you for sharing 🙏🙏🙏 God bless you 🙏🙏🙏🙏

  • Khaila Galvez July 25, 2013, 3:22 am

    A story which reminds me again that life had made of learning process that while we live, learning is one of the process in life we sometimes forget to remember. A good and inspiring story 🙂

  • Mantasha April 23, 2013, 1:26 pm

    An inspiring story and good as well.

  • Azrul March 13, 2013, 9:29 am

    Good job.

  • Sandeep February 9, 2013, 9:28 am

    It is cool. Really good.

  • Rene Bannigan January 26, 2013, 10:11 am

    Who was the actual author of this story? I loved the message it was truly inspirational.

  • Mehul Tanna January 1, 2013, 12:21 pm

    You are doing a great job keep it up..:)

  • Abyb December 27, 2012, 5:45 pm

    What a beautiful story, I love this site…

  • Devansh Sharma December 26, 2012, 9:16 am

    I loved this story… after my high school I lost my way during my stream selection……your website was one of the ways to bring me back. Thanks a lot 🙂

  • Arshad Gaddar December 11, 2012, 6:33 am

    Good one

  • Angelyn October 5, 2012, 3:59 am

    Thanks for posting this story…just what I wanted for my storytelling competition!! 😉

  • Keertishree September 2, 2012, 11:57 am

    Really so awesome… how superb 🙂

  • shiv August 26, 2012, 10:55 pm

    Ya. We are bound by such many perceptions…. And we grow negative…. A good one !

  • Khalid Shaikh July 21, 2012, 1:47 am

    Lesson for us.

  • Savir July 15, 2012, 12:53 pm

    Lovely stories

  • KIPTOO July 9, 2012, 6:11 am

    I like this story. My rural youth should be thought so…

  • Nitin July 3, 2012, 11:41 pm

    Very nice story…!!! Hearty inspirational…!!!!

  • Camilia June 14, 2012, 12:24 pm

    This wonderful story will help people to know what is the meaning of life.

  • Shelby Menet May 17, 2012, 10:51 pm

    I loved this story!! Do you mind if I use the story or idea of it? I am a art student…

    • Stephen May 19, 2012, 6:56 pm

      Please feel free to!

  • Jennifer Black May 6, 2012, 3:07 pm

    This storys helped me alot.. it’s actually unreal. Thank-you so much, my life is getting better by the minute just by following that one peice of advice 🙂 Thank-you! I hope it helped others as well.

  • ABABIO May 3, 2012, 3:18 am

    Instil a-can-do-attitude always!! be indomitable!

  • Joy April 6, 2012, 5:41 am

    True story! Never stop your feet to go forward. Never assume your are hopeless.

  • Barendra March 10, 2012, 12:20 am

    In this new era we shouldn’t belief superstitions…..but very much enthusiastic

  • Mallika March 4, 2012, 8:11 pm

    Thanks alot this helped me alot to do my prayer at religion class….. and it really teaches me a lesson

  • Danial.e February 16, 2012, 7:13 am

    This story was very interesting and it helped me to make my oral presentation. Thank you to the person who posted this story.

  • Jaya February 6, 2012, 2:27 pm

    Thanks for sharing such a good inspirational story. I really like it…

  • KAVITHA February 6, 2012, 6:39 am

    The example and the quote below is simply good. 🙂

  • Jyoti Maurya February 5, 2012, 9:16 am

    Thankssss!!! It will help me for my story telling competition.

  • Krishna January 20, 2012, 10:25 am

    Nice story. Post more…

  • DivyaShri January 11, 2012, 1:35 pm

    Really nice…………………………..

  • Sumit January 3, 2012, 12:31 pm

    Awesome approach towards the human philosophy…..!!!
    Really superb…………….

  • Sree Vidya.Velicheti December 30, 2011, 12:21 pm

    People loose confidence due to their failures and never notice their raise in maturity levels, thereby forced to live like elephants life, like in this story.

  • Gaurav_Luthra December 1, 2011, 8:10 am

    I will try to do what I once wanted to do but failed at that time. Thanks 4 your awesome way to make, people like me, understand this true fact.

  • Saee November 12, 2011, 5:04 am

    Yes that is true, we forgot that we are now bought up and we can do everything which is in the world …. thanks for the simple but sweet story..

  • Syamala November 8, 2011, 7:04 pm

    Very good.

  • Animesh October 12, 2011, 1:25 am

    How foolish?

  • Ankit September 25, 2011, 11:45 am

    Awesome approach towards the human philosophy…..!!!

  • NOUFAL September 19, 2011, 3:10 am

    Each day live differently

  • Priya September 17, 2011, 11:39 pm

    So nice…..!!!

  • amrutha August 24, 2011, 12:53 pm

    really superb…………….

  • Doctor August 14, 2011, 12:21 am

    It is called conditioned reflex or sham reflex which is natural in all living. Actually it is good to save life, but human are thinking creature they should give up this mental block

  • Mahesh August 12, 2011, 2:06 am

    It was pretty good.

  • Sarita July 22, 2011, 6:59 am

    Nice really nice

  • I like this story. July 9, 2011, 11:02 pm

    Nice story, sometimes stories may change persons life, thanks post more.

  • Careful July 5, 2011, 8:57 pm

    Maybe the elephants were smart enough to know if they’d escaped they’d have been shot!

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