A psychology professor walked around on a stage while teaching stress management principles. She raised a glass of water and asked, “How heavy is this glass of water I’m holding?” Students shouted out answers ranging from eight ounces to a couple of pounds.
She replied, “From my perspective, the absolute weight of this glass doesn’t matter. It all depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s fairly light. If I hold it for a day straight, my arm will likely cramp up and feel completely numb, forcing me to drop the glass to the floor.
She continued, “Your stresses and worries in life are very much like this glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them all day long, and you will feel completely numb – incapable of doing anything else until you drop them.”
A man was walking through an elephant camp, and he spotted that the elephants weren’t being kept in cages or held by the use of chains. All that was holding them back from escaping the camp, was a small piece of rope tied to one of their legs.
As the man gazed upon the elephants, he was completely confused as to why the elephants didn’t just use their strength to break the rope and escape the camp. They could easily have done so, but instead they didn’t try to at all.
He asked a trainer nearby why the elephants were just standing there and never tried to escape. The trainer replied; 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 only reason that the elephants weren’t breaking free and escaping from the camp was because over time they adopted the belief that it just wasn’t possible.
Count your blessings. Gratitude is the fuel of resiliency. Train your mind to think of at least one thing for which you are thankful everyday. It is often easy to overlook the small but significant blessings in your life. Look for positive things outside of yourself, because sometimes you can not trust your mind.