When I was growing up in the country and living with my grandparents, my grandfather would regularly tell us stories.
There is one in particular that I can recall and perhaps you have heard the story as well.
It was about a group of blind men who unknowingly encountered an Elephant. Each of the four moved cautiously towards the creature to discern him by touch.
One of them touched his massive ears and said, “This beast is flat and flexible-like a palm leaf!”
The second grabbed the massive leg of the Elephant and, amazed at its circumference and texture, proclaimed, “No, he is sturdy and round like a tree trunk!”
The third blind man grabbed hold of the Elephant’s tail and said, “You are both wrong! This creature is thin and wiry as a snake.”
The last blind man, leaning against the side of the mighty beast, said, “You are all as stupid as you are blind! This animal is strong and sturdy like a stone wall.”
Each of the blind men walked away thinking he knew how the Elephant looked, by just touching a section of it. But in reality, each man only touched a part of it.
How many of us today think we know all there is to life because of our limited experience? How many of us think we know all there is to know because of where we have touched in life?
Like the four blind men, we have only encountered a part of the whole of our experiences. There is still more to experience, but many of us don’t realize this. No wonder we have so many blind spots in our lives.
This timeless truth is so relevant today.
Do we see the whole Elephant or just the small part we touch?
I used to tell my wife regularly that our experiences are not all there is to life. There is always more to experience and discover.
Also, what we experience is not necessarily true for others. One person might invest in a start-up business for example that fails and he returns to a cage and conclude, “People should not start businesses.”
He makes this assumption based on his experience, but is that true for everyone? Absolutely not!
That person has only just touched a section of the Elephant.
When someone advises you, it is always good to know what part of the Elephant that person is touching. Don’t plant seeds around a narrow perspective or plant seeds based on someone’s advice, when that person was only touching one side.
Many of us have only touched one side of life. That side is so narrow and limited, yet we use the same limited experience to solve the same problems over and over again. If we continue, we will remain in the same place.
Remember that your experience is not all there is to life.
Choose to read, grow, explore and also learn from those ahead of you who have gathered more experience over the years. You might be shocked to know that you have been hanging on to information that is just not so all along!
[Photo credit: www.inquiry111westminster.wikispaces.com]