Elephant and the rope

elephant tied with rope

My old friend, Deepak Avasare commented on my yesterday’s post Embrace Constraints. He said,

One thing I realize later on that when things change and constraints are gone / reduced, we still work as if the constraints are still there. This can be unproductive in the long run. We have to consider that changes in environment and make the most efficient use of the resources at all the times.

Well said Deepak. I fully agree with you. As I was reading your comment I was reminded of how a huge, 5 ton elephant can be tethered with a very thin rope.

When the elephant is a baby, he is tied to a tree or a post with a rope relatively thick for him, thus preventing the creature from escaping.  As the elephant grows, during the first few weeks, the baby elephant continuously tries to break free by testing the strength of the rope. But the rope is too strong for the elephant. As the elephant is growing, he continues to make the efforts to free but with a lot less frequency, and still fails to get out of his confinement. Soon, he learns that his strength is no match for the strength of the rope and gives up all it’s attempts and thus resigns for the life in captivity.

As the elephant grows, the situation changes – his strength increases, his constraints are much weaker, but he continues to behave as if the constraints are still there. Doesn’t use his improved resource, his strength. This is exactly what Deepak is saying.

Aren’t’ we like the elephant, still tied down with some of our constraints which were very real at some point in time, but are not valid anymore? Let’s introspect…

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