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How to Defeat the Grasshopper and Elephant Mentality in the Workplace and in Life?

How to Defeat the Grasshopper and Elephant Mentality in the Workplace and in Life?

We can learn a lot from the grasshopper, the elephant, and the way humans think, you know. This is why. If you want to keep a grasshopper as a pet, all you have to do is catch it in a jar with a cover on top. And, like many of us, an imprisoned grasshopper will try hard to escape by smashing the wall of resistance in search of freedom over and again.

That grasshopper appeared to be quite tenacious and motivated to change its environment at first. And it would try and try again, but it would never be able to break free. Then something happens, and the grasshopper’s persistence in escape comes to an end.

We all know that the grasshopper will never attempt to escape by jumping out of the jar with the lid on. At the moment, you can remove the lid and your (pet) grasshopper will not leave since, having learnt that its condition did not change no matter what it did in the past, the grasshopper is certain that it would never change in the future. And it will settle into its new life with no desire to venture outside of its comfort zone.

Many of us are aware of how elephant trainers teach elephants to remain stationary. They seize the newborn elephant and tie a heavy chain around its ankle, and the baby elephant, like the grasshopper, will pull and tug until it stops. And the elephant’s opinions do not change when it grows into an adult. The trainer could wrap a tiny rope around the elephant’s ankle and it would not try to escape.

So, in this basic life lesson, there are parallels between the grasshopper and the elephant, as well as those who have given up and adopted the same mentality as the grasshopper and elephant—becoming comfy and complacent with no sense of pushing on even if the achievement is within grasp.

Mentally, this individual perceives it as unattainable and unreachable—to it’s difficult, they may remark. When the grasshopper and elephant mentalities are embraced by an individual, a group, or even an industry, they cause numerous problems, including:

Individual perceives themselves as unable to fit in with peers or to take advantage of newer technologies.

They may overestimate the situation or competition and determine, and possibly talk themselves out of, becoming successful by telling themselves things like, “I’m too old,” “I don’t have enough resources, “no experience,” and “I don’t want to get involved with anything,”  We’ve all heard the song before, but we keep singing it.

Another example that is comparable to our daily lives is the game of chess. It is how you play the game that determines your success. Chess is a game of adaptation and change. Players must follow precise regulations in order to set up the game board. You have rules governing how and where the chess pieces must move on the board.

Then there are rules for capturing a chess piece and lastly for winning the game. Even though there are rules to the game of chess that must be followed, no one plays the game the same way since there are millions of ways to win and millions of ways to lose, but the outcome is determined by the interactive interaction process between the two players.

Similarly, there are rules that regulate change and rules that govern adaptation to change, but there is no one path that a person must take that leads to success. Why? Because everyone is unique, no two people are the same, even if they are identical twins.

Change and adaptation are influenced by a person’s thinking, whether positive or negative. It can also be influenced by a person’s biological makeup, psychological makeup, and/or the environment in which they live.

That is why, while discussing what situations will best encourage workplace efficiency, it is best to consider what will directly contribute to enhanced proficiency and productivity of the individual employee. For example, the atmosphere or workplace culture can aid to boost efficiency.

So, in order to avoid the grasshopper and elephant mentalities as a human being, you must be able to accept, respond to, and adapt to change; otherwise, you will be caught in that place, unaware of the power within you that is greater than the external forces.

Remove your mental impediments because they will only lead to regression, restrictions, stagnation, and, finally, failure to achieve your goals. Remember that you can only limit yourself, not your life circumstances.

Only Dr. Derrick Darden, PhD, has permission to use this material.

http://dcdardentalks.com is a blog. (Sign up to receive bi-weekly articles)

Reference:-Amen, D. (1992). Don’t Shoot Yourself in the Foot (A Self-Defeating Behavior Intervention Program)


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