The Horse and The Rope

As a man was passing through a small outback town, a sole horse, caught his eye. He stopped momentarily and was puzzled by the fact that this powerful creature was being held by only a small rope loosely tied to a small chair. No fences, no chains, no barn gates. It was obvious that the horse could, at anytime, break away from its bond but for some reason, it did not. He saw what looked to be the owner nearby and asked why this animal just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” the owner said, “When they are very young and much smaller we use the same small size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. Sure, they will try to break free, but soon learn they are unable to. 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 again.” The man was amazed. This animal could at any time break free from its bond, but because the horse believed it could not, it was stuck right there… conditioned to do the same thing each day believing there was no other alternative. The man continued on his way and reflected on how many of us are just like that helpless horse. Many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before or we are led to believe what once held us back, will always hold us back.