Once upon a time there was a baby elephant. Let’s call her Nellie, for that was her name.
Now, Nellie’s owner didn’t want her running away, so he drove a big stake in the ground and took a pink rope. He tied one end of the rope to the stake, and the other end to one of Nellie’s feet. Try as she might, Nellie could not break the rope no matter how hard she pulled at it, being only a baby elephant.
Each day Nellie’s owner would untie her and take her out for her duties, and at the end of the day on would go the pink rope. Every night Nellie tried in vain to escape, until she realised that she could never break that rope.
Over the years Nellie grew until she became a fully grown adult elephant, and every night her owner would use the same pink rope to tether Nellie to the stake so she would not escape. Nellie knew, from learning as a baby, that when the pink rope was on, there was no escape, so she never even tried any more, that flimsy pink rope kept her in place each night.
Of course, now that Nellie was a big and strong adult elephant, she could have easily broken that rope with a single tug of her foot is only she tried. But she had grown up knowing the rope was unbreakable, so why bother trying?
And so it was that this most mighty and powerful of creatures was kept in place by a flimsy, easily-breakable rope.
How many times has someone suggested that you attempt something, or how many times have you wanted to do something, but you knew there was no point in trying because you tried years ago and failed, so of course you are doomed to fail if you try again now?
Yet just as Nellie grew up to become a mightily powerful and impressive being, so you have grown stronger in so many ways as you have grown through life, yet it is all too easy to forget this and to assume that because we could not do something in the past that means there is no way we will ever be able to do it now or in the future.
Nellie’s story does not end there, however.
For one night an almighty fire broke out.
Terrified as the flames grew ever closer, Nellie trumpeted and called in vain waiting for her owner to come and untie her so she might seek safety.
He never came.
The flames got closer and closer.
Nellie got more and more scared for her life.
Until the fire was so close, and Nellie was so scared, that she temporarily forgot about the pink rope and panicked and tried to run away.
The flimsy pink rope, which she had always grown up knowing was unbreakable, snapped and Nellie was free!
Free at last from that rope, and terrified of the engulfing flames, Nellie ran and ran as fast as she could, until finally she reached safety. And freedom.
She had done it! She had escaped!
As she started to calm down from the threat of the long-distant fire, and the jubilation of being free started to subside, Nellie slowly started to realise how foolish she had been all these years; she could have escaped at any time over the decades, if only she had not assumed the rope which was so unbreakable to a baby elephant was not unbreakable to a mighty grown beast. She could have been happily roaming free for so long…