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The Elephant & The Rope

By: Michael Blankenship |

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

– Walt Disney

Good morning! 

Did you know we just created 101 lessons? Each lesson will help you start your morning off right, with thoughtful wisdom, journaling prompts, and journaling space. It’s like a devotional for non-religious people. Go get your copy for 60% off here!

– Mike & Alec

The Elephant & The Rope

In a this 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.

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 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.”

Books to Read

The Royal Society of Literature once asked 10 writers to suggest the 10 books that children should read before leaving school. Instead of writing a list of books, this is what the writer Ben Okri wrote. 

  1. There is a secret trail of books meant to inspire and enlighten you. Find that trail.
  2. Read outside your own nations, colour, class and gender.
  3. Read the books your parents hate.
  4. Read the books your parents love.
  5. Have one or two authors that are important, that speak to you; and make their works your secret passion.
  6. Read widely, for fun, stimulation and escape.
  7. Don’t read what everyone else is reading. Check them out later, cautiously.
  8. Read what you’re not supposed to read.
  9. Read for your own liberation and mental freedom.
  10. Books are like mirrors. Don’t just read the words. Go into the mirror. That is where the real secrets are. Inside. Behind. That’s where the gods dream, where are realities are born.
  11. Read the world. It is the most mysterious book of all.

Image of The Week

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 Journaling Prompt

Take some time to think through the following journaling prompt. 

Why is it important to regularly expose yourself to the things you 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.

Riddle Answer: The river was frozen.

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