blog Productivity

Don’t let your past dictate terms to your present

History is replete with stories of people who incessantly persevered to reach their goals.

What history does not tell us is, how many people gave up on their goals due to self-created mental boundaries. Most of the times, this self-created burden comes from our past failures or bad experiences.

Those failures become the signpost for our future decisions. Every time we venture into something new, we summon connected events from the past and subconsciously rationalize – “since it didn’t work back then, it sure as hell won’t work now and hence, I should rule out this option”.

The other day I was on a video-call with an acquaintance whose job had just landed in choppy waters. He is into web-based software sales, so I suggested him that he should build adjacent job skills, for example, by taking courses in relevant coding languages. I said this would add a different dimension to his CV.

He blurted out, “No, I don’t think my brain is as sharp as it used to be. I am 42 already. If I couldn’t do it back then, you think I can do it now? ” I was a little taken aback and tried to reason with him, but it was to no avail.

The incident reminded of a condition called Chained Elephant Syndrome.

Chained Elephant Syndrome

Chained Elephant Syndrome

A man visits a zoo and there, he sees a fully-grown male elephant chained to a stake. The scene preturbs him. He feels bad for the animal, but he is also surprised.

An elephant of that size could easily yank off that stake, but instead, he stays docile and doesn’t even try.

His memory is still rooted in his childhood.

When he was first brought to the zoo, he was a 6-month-old calf, weaned away from his mother. The zookeepers immediately tied his leg to a stake which was too strong for him to move. He tried many times, but he failed.

After some time, he came to terms with the reality that that stake is cemented in the ground and no matter how hard he tried he wouldn’t be able rip it out. The burden of this acquired reality the elephant carries to this day.

He does not know that he has long surpassed the reality of his childhood and is way bigger and stronger. He does not realize that he can uproot that stake in one go.

The same is the case with humans, we tend to remain rooted in our old realities, stuck in the past experiences when things didn’t work out.

In order to transform your life, you must fathom your present day reality and consciously, dispel the mental burden of past failures.


See, our brain is a delusion generator. The more you hark back to the past, the more negative experiences it will conjure up and amplify. The best way to get out of this trap is to stay in the present moment and drop your anchor in the present.

Masters such as Thomas Elva Edison and Charles Darwin never let their past failures obstruct their present. It was as if their past had no influence over them.

In conclusion, don’t let your past dictate terms to your present and it certainly won’t hold sway over your future.

©BookJelly. All rights reserved

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: