There once were three blind men walking on three separate roads, all of which ended upon at the same intersection. In the middle of the crossing sat an elephant, patiently waiting with its handler to go join into a circus which had arrived in town that very day. The first blind man who happened upon the elephant walked right into one of its legs.
“What is this, that’s blocking my way?” he cried indignantly. Apologizing profusely, the handler explained that it was an elephant. “An elephant? I’ve never seen an elephant before, let me take a good look with my hands.” With that the first blind man proceeded to feel all around the leg of the beast until he was satisfied. “Ah, so that is what an elephant is.” With a nod, he moved onward towards his destination.
The second blind man soon happened upon the intersection and he, too, was stopped by the presence of the elephant. Only the road he was on took him face first into the elephant’s trunk.
“What is this! What’s here that’s hindering my way?” Again, the embarrassed handler quickly apologized and explained once more that it was an elephant. “Ah, an elephant. Yes, yes of course I know what an elephant is. But just to be sure…” lied the second blind man, as he quickly placed his hands upon the elephant’s trunk, feeling the length of it as the elephant reached out to sniff him curiously. “Right, right, the elephant, it is just as I’d thought.” And, feeling self-satisfied, he moved on as well.
A third blind man walking on his own path was the last to be stopped, only he had the misfortune of walking smack dab into the elephant’s butt.
“Ouch! What is the meaning of this, placing such an obstacle in the good fellow’s path?” The handler, running around to help the third blind man up, piteously explained that it was an elephant, and that he promised he would move it right away. “An elephant!” raged the third blind man indignantly, instinctively reaching out to get a feel for the creature. His fingers happened upon the elephant’s tail, stroking the thin appendage ending in its plume of hair. “This is a strange creature you have here indeed, this elephant as you say. Well whatever the case get it out of my way!” Huffing angrily, the third blind man walked on, still cursing silently under his breath.
Later that evening at the circus performance, the three bind men were all sitting together taking in the show. A transcriber sat nearby, describing the scene of events for them as they unfolded, when suddenly the elephant appeared. At the sound of its name, the first blind man perked up. “Why yes, the elephant, I know the creature well. It is thick, and sturdy, built like the trunk of a tree.”
“Are you mad?” interjected the second blind man, “I know the elephant too, and it is nothing like a tree trunk. It is thin, and long, and moves with the rhythm of a snake.”
“Crazy, the both of you!” laughed the third blind man patronizingly, “you are all wrong. I have met an actual elephant, and I can tell you it isn’t anything like what either of you have described. The elephant is thin, with a plume of hair, reminiscent of a broom. You fellows have clearly no idea what you are talking about!”
And so, the three blind men continued to argue with each other into the night over the form of the elephant, while the poor transcriber sat dumbstruck, unsure of how to break the news to either them that they were all, in effect, wrong.
Our reality as we know it is based purely on our perception of it. In order to make it through this world without getting eaten by tigers or falling into open manhole covers, we rely on our five senses to relay to us relevant information, information we then trust is giving us the most accurate assessment of the reality at hand. In most cases, following our perceptions will be the right thing and do the trick – when you see the light is red, don’t go and you won’t get hit; if there’s a whole bunch of mold on your food, don’t eat it and you won’t get sick (except for blue cheese, oh you beautiful moldy thing). In times like these, your knowledge of the elephant doesn’t need to be anything more than the little piece you are handling.
But this is only part of the story. If we always followed exactly what our senses perceived, we would never know an elephant to be anything more than a foot, a trunk, or a tail. There is a bigger picture at work here, one that our immediate senses cannot detect. I’m talking about the reality that is not yet a reality, this sense of a larger purpose, a grander dream, a much bigger paycheck than the one you are currently holding. It is the desire for something more, something out there, but if looking around at your present situation does not reflect this, it may seem that such a dream is merely an impossible possibility.
Nobody is born being Elon Musk, not even Elon Musk. The man’s career did not start with ambitions to land human beings on Mars but it has certainly taken him there. His journey, just like every. single. person’s, manifested from a simple starting point, and from there it has projected, just like every. single. person’s starting point is capable of also, into outer space and beyond. The major shift here is in your perspective, in what you perceive as your ‘reality’ and what you want to manifest into being.
If you are standing, right now, at your own starting point, the reality surrounding you is likely not going to resemble a hub of innovation or a pool of untapped riches. What you want to achieve, and what you actually have at your disposal, may be as disconnected as owning a folded paper airplane while your dream is to become a pilot. How I am ever going to get there, from here? is the question du jour. This is where you need to find your focus, to look beyond just what is right in front of you and into what is not yet there. What you focus on, you will manifest more of.
Say, for example, if you want to make more money, but you focus on how you don’t have enough of it, your energy will be spent on staying poor not getting rich. If you want to make more money, even if you currently don’t have a lot of it, shifting your focus will shift your reality.
“Opportunity is in the eye of the beholder.” – Jen Sincero
We are bombarded every day with signals from our senses, which translate into our perceptions, telling us what our ‘reality’ is. If we stayed here, if we surrendered our power to create change and just allowed life to carry us passively forward, then our perceptions would be correct. Where you are now is where you will stay, welcome to reality, get used to it.
But if you can pivot away from this mindset, to look beyond just what is in reach and entertain the idea that an elephant could be more than just what your senses perceived, you can start living in the bigger picture. Be in the reality that is more than just what is surrounding you currently, live in the world that you want to see. This is the power of mindset, this is also the power of you to change it.
Our perceptions form our reality, but conversely, we also have the power to influence our perceptions. Open your mind and open your hands, feel the whole elephant, and invite in true possibility!
Author’s Note: If you feel inspired and want to find out more, I highly recommend Jen Sincero’s book You Are A Badass At Making Money. She’s quite the motivator with a lot more words to get you off your butt and start working towards your dreams (whatever they may be, money is just a starting point).
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