Who Holds You Back? – Strategy With RS

In many parts of India, elephants are chained to a tree truck to contain them.

An elephant has sufficient brute power, to break free, by giving the tree trunk a strong tug. But it still continues to be chained to the tree trunk.


As a young calf, it was tied to a tree trunk. Being young, it wanted the freedom to roam about and therefore wanted to break free from it. It applied all the force it could muster as a calf to break free from the clutches – alas they proved futile.

Therefore, it got imprinted in his memory that no matter what he did, he can never break free from a tree trunk!

Even when the calf grows into a mighty elephant, and possesses the power to break free from the clutches of a tree trunk, it never exercises it, because it continues to believe that it cannot break free from it. And therefore it decides to remain stoically chained to it.

What is true for elephant is also true for us – humans.

In the past, we may have attempted a task and failed. But it would be wise to remember that at that time we may have lacked necessary skills.

Unfortunately, we permit our previous failure to guide us into believing that we still cannot win and meekly surrender even before putting in an honest effort – not realising that with the passage of time we may have become more accomplished, skilful and possess the ability and skill to tackle the task successfully.

Lesson for us: Our past failures and setbacks are no indicator of how we will perform in the future. Therefore we should not allow them to demotivate or hold us back.




About the Author:



In this series, Rajesh Srivastava, Business Strategist and Visiting Faculty at IIM Indore gives you a regular dose of strategy case studies to help you think and keep you one step ahead as a professional as compared to your peers. Rajesh is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore and IIT Kanpur and has over 2 decades of experience in the FMCG industry. All previous Strategy with RS posts can be found here.