Once a farmer found an abandoned eagle’s nest, and in it was an egg that was still warm. He took the egg back to his farm and laid it in the nest of one of his hens. The egg hatched and the baby eagle grew up among the chickens. It scratched and pecked about in the farmyard, and scrambled for grain doled out by the farmer. It spent its life within the yard and rarely looked up. One day when it was very old, it lifted up its head and saw above it a wonderful sight - an eagle soaring high above in the sky. Looking at it, the old creature sighed and said to itself, “If only I’d been born an eagle.”
As a man was passing a group of elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front legs; no chains and no cages confined them. It was obvious that the elephants could, at any time, break away from their bonds, but for some reason, they did not. He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood where they were and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” the trainer said, “when the elephants are very young and much smaller, we use the same size rope to tie them, and at that age, it’s enough to hold them. 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.” The man was amazed. These animals could at any time escape from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.
How many of us go through life instilled with the belief that we cannot do something ever no matter how hard we try, simply because we could not do it at an earlier time or in a particular place? Failures and limitations and conditions imposed on us are not forever; we should never give up going through the struggles in life that take us to the point of success. To quote Bernice Johnson Reagon (born in 1942), “Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” Do you know who you really are?