Living As An Adult With Baby Elephant Beliefs


I’m starting to write a book after stewing the thought about it for the past couple of years. The basis of the book is an approach to sales that I’ve never seen nor read anywhere. After talking with a fellow colleague recently about his situation I told him about my idea and he said that I needed to start writing the book immediately, so with that ammunition I’ve started writing it.

After many years of observing and managing “sales” people I kept asking myself why so many of them are unsuccessful? Why do so many of them keep repeating questionable tactics that resulted in a poor outcome? Why are “sales” people afraid to ask the tough questions?

I won’t get into the real depth of it because I don’t want to give the ideas of my book away but here’s something that a friend of mine has talked about for years. Howard calls it living as an adult with baby elephant ideas. Here’s where that comes from.

In the jungle elephants are used for the heavy work. They drag tree trunks from the jungles to help the workers clear the area. While they are babies the elephants are chained by a back leg to a very large tree. Initially they keep trying to free themselves, but finally give up because they realize they are locked into that situation. The elephants after repeated failures “know” the situation is unchangeable and there is nothing that they can do about it.

As fully grown adults tethering them to a large tree is replaced by a small stake in the ground. Logic tells us that because of the elephant’s strength and size they could easily rip the stake from the ground and simply walk away. However, the elephants have long since given up trying to free themselves and fully accept the chains of life’s “reality” as it appears to them, and so even when they are chained to a small stake in the ground, they accept and believe and “know” it is immovable, so they stop trying to pull it out and be free.

Most of us live with those same Baby Elephants Ideas. Fear is our chain and “stake” because all of us are trained to be afraid of punishment and rejection whenever we try to shake loose from our indoctrinated chains of mutually agreed upon definitions. We “know” the consequences are dire and painful. But, those Baby Elephants Ideas are so ingrained in us that we simply don’t try to make our lives better event though we’re tired of the life that we have.

As adults, then, let us all remember that the fear driven stake in the ground that seems immovable is very, very tiny, and easily pulled out of the ground. The message here is that we can change old ideas if we just believe

This isn’t a new idea but one that I’m refining for purposes of writing my book

P.S. I normally insert an image into my blogs but I was so disturbed by images of the treatment of the elephants during this “breaking in” period that I just couldn’t  bring myself to put an image of them out on the internet for others to see.

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