When I was a kid I loved the circus. The lions and the tamer. The flying trapeze but the part I really loved was the clowns. The moment they enter the ring my heart would pump with excitement. I always loved to laugh and the clowns really made me laugh.
The elephant act was cool too. I came across a discovery about elephant tricks in circus. Have you ever wondered why the elephants—the strongest and largest animals in the circus—don’t simply walk away?
The trainers have discovered a way to make them helpless.
When an elephant is born, it only takes about two weeks for him to get strong enough to break his chains, but his trainers use this time to their advantage. The baby elephant, chained to a tree, will make many attempts to break free before giving up, but once he has given up, that’s it. Although he grows larger physically, in his mind, the chain is still stronger than he is. In effect, he imprisons himself.
The chain therefore is a constant reminder that they are helpless.
A lot of us live our lives the same way. People have mastered the art and science of learned helplessness.
Rather than becoming the stars of the show, these helpless people in the work place have self-designed themselves into being clowns. They have made decisions either constantly or unwittingly that have led people to laugh at them. This is so sad because this does not have to be.
At the core of this problem lies the person’s inability to determine the difference between what are facts and what are stories. The stories they have heard may have come from the people they love. Stories come in forms like:
- “You’re not as good as your brother /sister….”
- “You’ve brought bad luck to the family….”
- “You’ll never make it…..”
- “You’re just like your dad/mom, you’re a loser….”
These are stories not facts but somehow they imprison, they form chains.
Here are some other examples of what stories sounds like and they mostly come from your primary story teller and that is YOU!:
- “I shouldn’t have to do this—it’s not part of my job description.”
- “Other people should be more dedicated and motivated. Nothing would get done around here if it weren’t for me.”
- “There’s not enough time to get it all done.”
- “Our department is always having to clean up after others’ mistakes.”
- “The boss just doesn’t get it.”
- “He is always undermining me.”
- My coworkers don’t appreciate me.”
- “Management only cares about the bottom line.”
- “I’m underpaid for what I do here.”
- “It would be finished if they’d stop interrupting me with last-minute changes.”
These are stories. These are not facts.
You and I need to stop arguing with reality. The reality is that God does not invent junk. Humans do it to themselves. We imprison ourselves with the chains formed by the stories we hear or the stories we invent ourselves.
We have the free will to choose. We can choose to rise up above our adversities, ignore the attacks of the envious, labor and learn and accept challenges and retain humility as success comes or we can choose to stay with our stories and ignore the facts.
Samuel Clemens says it well a long time ago when he said, “The problem with most people is not that they set their goals too high and fail to achieve it but that they set their goals too low and they attain it.”
God has given us a head to think, a heart to feel, hands to labor and feet to move towards our goals with the purpose of adding value to the world and never for the sole aim of personal glory or aggrandizement. Starting tomorrow as you go to the work place, stick to the facts and drop those stories.