11/15/2014 02:18 pm ET Updated Jan 15, 2015

What's in the Way of Your Freedom

Do you know how people train elephants in India and Thailand? In these countries elephants carry tremendous loads: trees, stones, and sand that, in some cases, even a tractor cannot manage. Training fully grown, enormous elephants to do these types of jobs is nearly impossible, so farmers had to be creative.

The trick they discovered about elephants is to train them for carrying heavy loads from infancy. First, they tie a thick rope around the leg of a baby elephant and stake it in the ground to tether the animal. While the elephant struggles and pulls to free itself, the rope and stake are strong enough to keep the small animal bound. Finally, the baby elephant will succumb and submit to its captivity.

As the elephant grows in size and strength, one might think that the farmer would need a larger stake and rope to hold the animal, but this is not the case. Once the elephant gives up thinking it can escape, the size of the rope and stake no longer matter. In fact, they can even get smaller because as soon as the elephant feels the slightest tug of restraint, it gives up.

Consequently, when the elephant becomes an adult, all the farmers need to do is pull out a few river reeds, weave the reeds into small ropes, and use them to tie the two-ton elephant to whatever he wants. Imagine... a simple river-reed rope to restrain an elephant!

People are also like that. Just as the elephant has been conditioned to believe its limitations, we humans have been conditioned. Without even recognizing it, mankind engages in "river reed thinking."

Inevitably, due to experiences, upbringing and advertising, people allow themselves to believe in limitation. Thoughts of, "I'm not pretty enough, young enough, smart enough, good enough or wealthy enough to have the life I want, or the job, or the partner I desire," are pervasive. However, none of these thoughts is true.

The real truth is no one is actually contained by anything. As a species, mankind is not limited by anything other than personal thoughts and beliefs. No one's life is pre-determined by history, childhood, family, or economics.

There is no "thing" in the world that is greater than the Presence and the Power that is within every person, yet people often allow their thinking to limit themselves and their dreams. When people allow their history to restrict them, or let self-doubt and low self-esteem control them, what they are actually doing is giving power to the people around them.

Sadly, we unwittingly allow family and close friends to influence us, and all too often we abdicate our power, and as a result, our dreams.

It does not have to be this way. What is within each of us is greater than anything outside of us, including any circumstances that may arise. The Power of Life itself is greater than any personal history.

History does not determine destiny. What is possible for each person is determined by what that person believes. The quest to rise above limitations to ultimate freedom requires that each person move beyond limited thinking.

Here are four simple steps to break free from "river reed thinking."

1. Identify limiting beliefs.

For a moment, imagine the life you really want. Where would you like to live? What work would you love to bring to the world? What do you do with your time? Imagine the person you are now, living that life.

Now consider what beliefs you have presently that are not congruent with the beliefs of your best self. Those are your "river reed thoughts" and do not serve you in moving in the direction of your dream.

Write those beliefs down on a piece of paper.

2. Replace Your Old Limiting Beliefs with Empowered Beliefs.

To rise above limitations, look at things differently. Write down replacement beliefs that challenge these old ideas. What thoughts and beliefs would your best self have that could serve you in achieving your dreams?

Write these best beliefs and thoughts down on a different piece of paper.

3. Focus on what you want to accomplish, and release the rest.

Now burn the piece of paper that contains the "river reed thinking." As it burns, visualize these ideas no longer controlling you, no longer having power over you and no longer governing your results. Imagine that these ideas are literally burning away from your mind, heart, and soul.

Tape the paper of best beliefs up next to your bed and read them every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to sleep. Remind yourself of these beliefs twice daily so they take hold in your mind and begin to express themselves in your life.

Just like the magnificent adult elephant, people are far more powerful than they realize. They have the power to choose to break free from limiting mindsets and share the gifts they are meant to give this world.

Here's to breaking away from those old river reeds!


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