Elephant Syndrome & Northern Pike

Conditioning.. Presented by RKT

What is your Method of Operating ?

Simple Truths: Unchain the Elephant
Classical Conditioning - Ivan Pavlov

Baby Elephant Syndrome

Baby Elephant Syndrome

Five years ago, a fellow writer asked me if I had heard of Baby Elephant Syndrome.

I had no idea what she was talking about. I always had pride in what I had accomplished in life. But she felt some writers, including me, needed to work on getting rid of this syndrome.
She explained her theory. An adult elephant can easily uproot huge trees with its trunk; it can knock down a house without much trouble. When an elephant living in captivity is still a baby, it is tied to a tree with a strong rope or a chain every night. Because it is the nature of elephants to roam free, the baby elephant instinctively tries with all its might to break the rope. But it isn’t yet strong enough to do so.
Realizing its efforts are of no use, it finally gives up and stops struggling.

After the baby elephant tries and fails many times, it will never try again for the rest of its life.
Later, when the elephant is fully grown, it can be tied to a small tree with a thin rope. It could then easily free itself by uprooting the tree or breaking the rope.

But because its mind has been conditioned by its prior experiences, it doesn’t make the slightest attempt to break free. The powerfully gigantic elephant has limited its present abilities based on the limitations of the past— Baby Elephant Syndrome.
Maybe human beings are exactly like the elephant except for one thing—we can choose not to accept the false boundaries and limitations of our past. We build on the past to make the future better.

Former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden’s mantra serves well for anyone.
“I am not as good as I ought to be.
I am not as good as I want to be.
I am not as good as I’m going to be.
But I am thankful that I am better than I used to be.”
How do you feel about this? What’s holding you back on finishing your work?

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The Northern Pike

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Recently, I read about an experiment with a northern pike.

Scientists placed the fish in an aquarium that had a glass divider separating the pike from a dozen minnows on the other side of the partition.

The pike couldn't see the glass when he repeatedly charged the minnows. Time and again, the pike went for a meal of minnows.

Each time he slammed into the invisible barrier.

Finally, after many days of failure, the pike quit trying.

Then the experimenters removed the glass divider that the protected the minnows from being eaten.

Guess what?

The pike didn't try to devour the minnows even when they got right up to his nose.

In psychology, this is called classical conditioning-conditioning a subject to respond in a particular way. While classical conditioning was a problem for the pike, it is a real tragedy for us when life conditions us to accept failure.


Classical Conditioning

The difference between classical and operant conditioning - Peggy Andover

Brilliant Analogy

Act Like A Success: Taking the lid off the jar