During a research experiment a shark was placed into a large holding tank and several small bait fishes were released into the tank. As expected the shark quickly swam around the tank, attacked and ate the smaller fish.
Then a strong piece of clear fiberglass was inserted into the tank, creating two separate partitions, and put the shark on one side of the fiberglass and a new set of bait fish on the other.
Again, the shark quickly attacked. This time, however, the shark slammed into the fiberglass divider and bounced off. Undeterred, the shark kept repeating this behavior every few minutes to no avail. Eventually, about an hour into the experiment, the shark gave up.
This experiment was repeated several dozen times over the next few weeks. Each time, the shark got less aggressive and made fewer attempts to attack the bait fish, until eventually the shark got tired of hitting the fiberglass divider and simply stopped attacking altogether.
Then the fiberglass divider was removed, but the shark didn’t attack. The shark was trained to believe a barrier existed between it and the bait fish, so the bait fish swam wherever they wished, free from harm.
Many of us, after experiencing setbacks and failures, emotionally give up and stop trying. Like the shark in the story, we believe that because we were unsuccessful in the past, we will always be unsuccessful.
In other words, we continue to see a barrier in our heads, even when no ‘real’ barrier exists between where we are and where we want to go.
The biggest obstacles in our lives are the barriers our mind creates ….