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Elephant Ropes, Psychological Immunity, & The Loser’s Game

By: Michael Blankenship |

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. 

– Walt Disney

Greetings from LA and Oahu!

This week we’re sharing a parable about an elephant (you) who’s tied to a tiny rope (your limiting beliefs) and explaining why it’s important to expose yourself to your fears in order to build up psychological immunity. We’re also talking about why comparison is always a loser’s game. 


Psychological Immunity

Immunity is defined as “the ability of an organism to resist a particular infection or toxin by the action of specific antibodies or sensitized white blood cells.”

We know how this works biologically. 

You probably, for instance, had the chickenpox at one point in your life — and now you’ll be immune to the disease for the rest of your life. 


Because you were exposed to it. And your body now knows how to deal with that particular infection.

But what about “psychological immunity”… 

Have you ever thought about how a very similar system exists inside of your mind? 

Exposure therapy, for instance, is a psychological treatment to help people overcome fears and anxieties by exposing them to those exact fears and anxieties

And it’s wildly effective. 

According to Healthline, “about 60 to 90 percent of people have either no symptoms or mild symptoms of their original disorder after completing their exposure therapy.”

Isn’t it amazing how facing our fears makes our fears go away? 

Something might feel uncomfortable now… and that feeling might make you want to run away and avoid the thing that created that feeling. 

But that’s a misleading desire. 

The only way to overcome a specific fear — to increase our “immunity” — is to confront the fear until it’s no longer overwhelming. 

That applies to our fears of the known — snakes, spiders, and scorpions — as well our fears of the unknown — failure, risk-taking, and feelings of inadequacy. 

As Dale Carnegie wrote, “”Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

The Elephant & The Rope

In a recent Twitter Thread, Seek Life Mastery told the following story…

As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by a small rope tied to their front leg.

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.

The 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 the process, you can take a break, find yourself again. But don’t be like the elephants and never try again. 

The Loser’s Game: Comparison

On episode 480 of the SPI (Smart Passive Income) podcast, Pat Flynn spends 19 minutes musing about what he calls “the entrepreneurial game that no one ever wins.” 

Namely, comparison. 

He argues (rightly so, we think) that comparing ourselves to others is not a fair game — each person has a different history, a different personality, and has had different opportunities placed before them. 

“Nothing good can come out of that,” he says, “You either are going to feel bad because you don’t have or you’re not at where someone else is or you’re just kind of tooting your own horn, playing I’m better than you to somebody else… or you’re exactly the same, in which case you’ve just wasted your time.”

Give the full episode a listen during your next drive — it’s a good reminder that the only comparison worth making is the one between you right now and you yesterday.

Extra Stuff

Here is some other random stuff we found interesting this last week!

Books We’re Reading

Here’s what the tribe is currently reading (let us know books you’re loving and we’ll include them in future emails!)…

This Week’s Photo

Rodrigo Garrido / Reuters

“A partial solar eclipse is seen during sunset in Vina del Mar, Chile, on April 30, 2022.” via The Atlantic

This Week’s Riddle

Here’s this week’s riddle — the answer is at the bottom of the email!

A man calls his dog from the opposite side of the river. The dog crosses the river without getting wet, and without using a bridge or boat. How?

This Week’s Question

Answer this question — either privately or by replying to this email. If your answer inspires us, then we’ll ask for permission to include it in a future email!

Why is it important to regularly expose ourselves to the things that we fear? 

This Week’s Challenge

Read the section above titled, “The Elephant & The Rope” and spend some time thinking about the ropes that you falsely believe are holding you back. What is something you would love to do… but don’t think you’re capable of doing? 

Then, ask yourself why that is a ridiculous belief. 

And remind yourself that your capable of anything. 

Until next week, 

Mike & Alec

Riddle Answer: The river was frozen.

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