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Editorial: Baby Elephants and Your Truest Self

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This editorial was published in the first issue of Tribe, our digital magazine. It’s a better reading experience in the app. You can read Tribe now on Android or iPhone. Become a Tribe subscriber here.

There’s something I see regularly these days that brings pain to my heart:

Full-grown elephants being kept in place simply by a loose chain tied around their leg.

I’m writing this from Thailand, where I’ve just relocated to from Australia during the pandemic. I’m Australian and spent four years in the US in the early days of creating Ideapod. Now, we’re a remote company with team members in different parts of the world.

And we have a global community coming together to create Tribe – the magazine you’re reading right now.

When you move countries to a different culture, it brings up interesting observations. One of these is seeing the domestication of elephants.

It’s confusing to see such powerful creatures being held in place with a small chain.

It turns out that when the elephants are little, they’re tied down with a chain to a big tree or post.

The baby elephant pulls and pulls but can’t break away from the leash.

After enough time, the baby elephant will stop pulling on the chain and just waits for the trainer to come and release it.

When I see these majestic creatures being held captive by such a little chain, I feel angry.

The elephant doesn’t try to pull away even though it has all of the power it needs to break most bonds with the smallest effort.

Why?

Because it became conditioned as a young elephant that there was no way it could ever break free from the chain.

Seeing the elephants held in place makes me think of how we operate as human beings. Are we really different from the elephants?

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Each and every one of us is born with unimaginable creativity, personal power and practically unlimited potential.

Yet from childhood, we grow up conditioned by so many false myths and concepts which limit our capacity to live life on our own terms.

We end up seeing ourselves – and each other – in extraordinarily limited ways and we conform to what society expects of us.

We launched Ideapod seven years ago. Since then, we have created a number of different products.

The first was a social network where anyone could share an idea. We then launched a blog with articles that have now been read by over 50 million people in the last few years. Most recently we launched Ideapod Academy, an online education platform with workshops in the personal growth space.

No matter which product we have launched, there has been one constant throughout our history.

Ideapod has been a place on the web for the “seekers”. These are the people who want to explore the deeper questions about life, who we are, and where we’re headed as a species.

And now we have Tribe, our very first digital magazine exploring some of these deeper questions in much more depth.

The purpose of Tribe is to nurture a community on Ideapod inspiring each other to break free from the chains holding us back.

We aim to share a range of perspectives exploring the myths of society so that together we can see them for what they are: myths.

We don’t pretend to be reporting to you from a place of enlightenment where we have figured things out. But there is one thing that unites all of us working on Tribe – and I suspect is something that you, our Tribe member, has in common.

We are all committed to facing up to the bonds that are holding us back so that we can break free. We are aiming to live an authentic life.

This magazine issue explores the theme of “the anarchy of personal development”. Within these pages, you’ll find a range of perspectives exploring the relationship between anarchism, personal development, and spirituality.

I hope you enjoy the magazine and everything else that Ideapod is offering. I look forward to getting to know you soon!

Written by Justin Brown

I'm Justin Brown, the founder of Ideapod. I've overseen the evolution of Ideapod from a social network for ideas into a publishing and education platform with millions of monthly readers and multiple products helping people to think critically, see issues clearly and engage with the world responsibly.

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