I don’t consider myself an animal lover. But this blog is inspired by the true story of an elephant conservationist I heard about last week. It’s actually a story about leaders, life, what people follow, what it means to be connected. And the role that passion plays, in our success.
A different kind of power
A reserve keeper in South Africa receives a call; would he take on a herd of wild elephants? They’ve broken out of every reserve they’ve been in. The matriarch of the herd is strong, and clever, and determined. She’s figured out how to break through electric fences. That is, either by twisting the wires around her tusks until they snap, or taking the pain and smashing straight through them. A different kind of power. .
If he doesn’t take them, they’ll be shot. He agrees. On the very first night the elephants break out, locate the generator that powers the electric fences, and flatten it like a tin can. Once off the safety of the reserve, they are met by poachers. The Keeper finds them and negotiates them back. He realises no ordinary commitment to rehabilitation will work.
What did he do next? He put his life on hold. He put himself in their path, lived with them day and night, fed them, talked to them. He risked his life to save theirs. He gained their trust. He saved them. More herds were sent his way. He became known for his work.
The Connected Cycle
Lawrence Anthony, died of a heart attack at his home unexpectedly, a few years later. On the day of his death, two separate herds of elephants walked for many miles from separate parts of the reserve for over 12 hours and 24 hours respectively to arrive at the Anthony family home. They stayed there for 2 days. They mourned him as one of their own.
How did the elephants know that he had died? His death was sudden, there was no illness. What made this man take such a huge personal risk to save them? What told him, that he could unlock so much fear? What made him do it? What was his prize?
Help and happiness
It’s not just Lawrence Anthony. Look around you. People who help others, seemingly without reason, are happier themselves. They lead more productive, more successful, and more contented lives. They are the richer. People who give as much as they take, are the ones people follow, willingly. People who are passionate about what they do, are more successful at it. They fly through life because of it.
How many times have you, and people you know, felt something before it happened? Believed something great could happen? Found out afterwards, it was lucky that something didn’t work out the way it was supposed to?
It reminds me of a documentary I watched recently, called The Power of the Heart. Which, among others, demonstrates how accurately the heart can predict what the mind does not know yet. In tests using images, the heart is capable of eliciting the correct emotional response, before they have even appeared. Not with a 60% ratio, but with 100%, in all cases. Just to be clear, that is 20 seconds before the randomly selected pictures have shown up on the screen. Before your eyes have seen it, before your mind knows it. Your heart knows what is coming. And it reacts appropriately. It reacts to things your mind doesn’t know yet.
We all know this of course. We like to call it gut feeling. But do you really think that is coming from your entrails? It’s your heart. Sense something? Your heart. Feel something? Your heart. It’s the first part of you, and anything living, that’s created. So why do we have such a hard time acknowledging it? How many times have you helped someone, only for them to perceive it as a sign of your weakness?
Why is the heart, the most powerful organ in your body, so often associated with fragility? Why is it ‘mind over matter’?
Your best decisions are made, not when thinking actively, but after ‘sleeping on it’, while your mind is at rest. The decisions you feel are right, are usually right. The decisions that you forcefully think, are often the wrong ones. If something doesn’t feel right, then don’t do it. You will find out why not afterwards. If something feels good, but it doesn’t make sense to you yet, keep your options open. You might decide it’s right. But stop using your head. It’s slowing you down.
The elephant conservationist succeeded because he somehow knew he could do it. He believed he could. He knew he was their last hope, and once he made his decision to help, everything else was just filling in the gaps. He had faith. His faith was so strong that he could build trust with a whole herd of the wildest elephants.
Passion is power
Here it is. Unlocking what is important to you on a personal level will drive you forwards faster than you ever imagined. When you engage your heart in what you do, your thoughts break their bonds, your mind transcends limitations. Your consciousness expands in every direction. You find solutions where they never existed. If you can unlock the power of your heart, you will find yourself in a great, wonderful, new world. Dormant talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far, than you ever dreamed yourself to be.
Open your heart today.