Written by Travis Hill
I wish I had known and believed that I was in control of my own destiny.
'Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.'
That’s a quote from Henry Ford. I think that deep down I’ve always known this, but it’s only really in the last year that I have begun to live by this principle. I made a choice to believe that I was in control of my own destiny and my life changed!
The ability to choose is a beautiful thing. It’s an advantage that we, humans, have over the rest of the natural world. Think about it. A caterpillar can’t choose whether or not it becomes a butterfly. An acorn makes no choice about becoming a mighty oak tree, but YOU can choose whether or not to transform into something greater. The decision to go head first into difficult situations and emerge victorious is all yours. It’s a matter of mindset. You’re in control.
A traveller was on holiday, when he spotted a giant elephant tied to a tree by a rope. No cage, no chains. Nothing. Just a rope.
As he got closer, he realised that the rope was pretty thin in comparison to the elephant. It was also old and frayed, almost incapable of doing the job it had been placed to do. 'This rope doesn’t look that strong. Why doesn’t the animal break free?' the traveller asked the man who was tending to the elephant.
The man smiled and explained, 'When they were very young and much smaller, we used the same thin ropes to tie them. At that age, the weak twine was enough to hold them. The elephants were conditioned to believe that they could not break away. They have grown greatly in size yet, they believe the thin rope can still hold them. This is why they never try to break free.'
On the surface, this is a truly sad story. We mourn the elephants freedom without considering how conditioned we are to accept the limitations that may have been placed on us long ago. Look past how you might feel about animal cruelty and exploitation for a second, and take a moment to analyse this situation. A creature as powerful and imposing as an elephant believed that a tiny, damaged rope could hold it back. Why? Because it was conditioned to believe so.
Nobody becomes a winner until they believe they can become one. The same goes for every role you’ll ever play. For me, it could be husband, father, author, business-owner, singer, podcaster, investor or footballer, but until about a year ago, I still hadn’t ever done 50 kick-ups in a row. This was because, when I was younger, my football coach said that only professionals could do that.
So guess what? I did not try. I’d get to about 20 or 30 and stop every time. In my head, it wasn’t possible to go much further. I accepted the limitation placed upon me by someone who did not truly have the power to hinder my potential.
It wasn’t until I overcame the mental barriers, that I was physically able to prove this false.
This was not easy and took about 10 years. The same doubt that had prevented me from learning to do 50 kick-ups is the same doubt that could prevent you from starting a business, applying for a job or meeting your wife. If you don’t believe you can — you won’t.
I’m sure you can remember a time when you’ve declined to even try something because you’re convinced you’d just fail anyway. Or when you’ve been told so many times, 'it’s not possible' that you actually believe it. You’re told, from a young age, that there is only one way to live life.
Birth —> School —> University —> Job —> Marriage —> DEATH Or something like that.
Most will never challenge this way of life and will sacrifice a fulfilled existence. That is very stupid. Harsh, but sadly, it’s all too common because either they’ve been conditioned to believe this narrative or they’re afraid of the challenges that the unknown holds. This is also stupid.
Successful people who achieve true happiness don’t leave their lives to chance. They take desicive, direct actions to seize what they want. They plan for the future and firmly believe they will receive whatever they strive for.
The fact is, you’re going to come up against adversity on your road to success. What really matters is how you react in difficult times. The instinct to overcome is often what separates the winners from the losers.