Someone I highly respect once told me that the answer to every problem can be found in a book. I remember a time when I felt like my life was moving on auto-pilot and I was stuck in a mental rut. It was challenging to keep moving because my mind was blocked with the belief that I could not move forward. Then I remembered one of my favourite stories: the Ant and the Elephant.
In this story, a small ant sits on top of a massive elephant. We don't know how it got there. We don't know when it will leave. But one thing becomes abundantly clear: while one might think that an ant should be afraid of the elephant, it's actually quite the opposite. The elephant is more scared than the ant is.
In fact, the elephant has an inexplicable fear of small animals.
The ant sits on top of this massive creature and realizes that the elephant is so timid it will listen to everything that the ant tells it.
In this story, the ant now has the power. He, one of the smallest creatures in the insect world, is now able to control one of the biggest entities in the animal kingdom. He can now physically do what the elephant has been able to do its entire life.
Physically, he knows no bounds. He just has to do one thing.
At this point, the story becomes interesting. The ant acts as an extension of the elephant's mind. It becomes the conscious mind. It tells the elephant what to do and when. It wants to dominate the lay of the land and stomp out minuscule creatures who step in its way. The elephant, however, represents the subconscious mind. It is filled with deep-rooted insecurity, self-doubt and fear. It hinders the elephant from reaching its full potential. It clouds the elephant's judgment and prevents it from accessing its full power and becoming who it was meant to be.
This is part of the human struggle. As we go through our days, we can choose to live purposefully, like the ant. We can choose to operate in our conscious mind by actively participating in our lives. We can make decisions based on reason and rationale.
Or we can be the elephant - ruled by fear of things that are within our control. We can over-think ourselves into stagnancy and never truly reach our potential. We can let the things and voices around us - be they family, friends, the media or past experiences - dictate how we choose to act now. We can live in our subconscious our entire lives.
One of my favourite movie scenes is when Morpheus asks Ne-yo to make a choice:
So will you be the ant who will move mountains with a strong and sound mind?
Or will you be the elephant who will let external irrationalities choose for you despite how small problem might be?
The choice is up to you.
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