Why The Elephant In The Room Won’t Make A Break For It

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Why The Elephant In The Room Wont Make A Break For ItWhen I was a child, I loved going to the circus to see the elephants.

It was amazing to see such powerful animals move so gracefully. But, I always hated how they were chained to a stake.

Now, they didn’t look unhappy to me.

Yet, I just knew they wanted to break the chain and run free to do whatever elephants do that makes their huge hearts sing.

The thing is: the chain holding them captive was so thin it was really more of a glorified rope. And even as a child, I could see it wasn’t strong enough to hold an elephant captive. It would snap like a worn thread of yarn if the elephant ever decided to make a break for the door. Yet, it never did.


And I still remember thinking:

“Why doesn’t the elephant just walk out to freedom!?”

Well, some years later I learned the answer.

The truth is, just as I thought, an elephant could break the chain quite easily, but it never does. And the circus trainers know it never will.

Why is this?

The reason is conditioning.

The whole trick is a matter of training the elephant to believe it can’t leave.

Here’s how it works:

When the elephant was a baby, the trainers made sure the chain was too strong for it to break. Wanting to run free, it would have struggled over and over again in vain. Eventually, the exhausted baby elephant would just give up and accept its fate. It then becomes dependant on staying in place as it grows, because that’s where the food is. It’s sad, but true.

Now, as an adult and a coach, it makes me just as sad to see this dynamic reflected in the job world.

Here’s what I mean:

A lot of folks I’ve coached took high paying jobs they didn’t really enjoy when they were younger because they needed the money (and the benefits). They reasoned they would stay there until they were stable and could find a better job they actually enjoyed.

But as they always do, the years flew by and Life happened.

Like John Lennon said:

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.

So even though they may have secretly longed to move on, they grew used to where they were and accepted the “golden handcuffs”.

Eventually, they paid off their cars and most of the mortgage. Then the kids left for college. And suddenly they realized they didn’t need the extra money from the jobs they still didn’t love.

They could leave, and yet they felt unable.

Like the elephant, they stay chained to an old job they’ve long outgrown.

Are you in a similar situation? If so, I’d like to offer this parting thought:

Perhaps you no longer need to stay. If you are now in a place where you don’t need the extra money, maybe it’s time you just picked the golden lock, walked free, and did something that makes your heart sing.

Give this some thought today.

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Alan Carniol

Alan is the creator of Interview Success Formula, a training program that has helped more than 40,000 job seekers to ace their interviews and land the jobs they deserve. Interviewers love asking curveball questions to weed out job seekers. But the truth is, most of these questions are asking about a few key areas. Learn more about how to outsmart tough interviewers by watching this video.