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Neurotags - A Story

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  • Neurotags - A Story

    I have heard this a few times and went searching for it on the web. i like to use it when describing neurotags. It has the benefit of being a story. It also illustrates that the bear is not crazy - just trained! He is a victim of his context.

    Psychologists John Grinder and Richard Bandler tell an interesting story about
    polar bears. It seems that years ago the Denver zoo went through a major renovation.
    They decided to build a large naturalistic environment to house a polar bear.
    Unfortunately, a polar bear arrived at the zoo before a naturalistic enclosure was
    ready for it. That meant they had to put it in a cage until the new grand environment was ready.

    The cage that it was put in temporarily was just big enough that the polar bear could take three nice, swinging steps in one direction, whirling around and taking three
    steps in the other direction, back and forth, back and forth. The polar bear spent many, many months in that cage with those bars that restricted its behavior. Eventually a large, naturalistic environment into which they could release the polar bear was built around this cage, on-site.

    When it was finally completed, the bear was sedated and the cage was removed from around the bear. You want to guess what happened when the polar bear woke up? The bear awoke, took three steps slowly in one direction before whirling around, and taking three steps in the other direction. Then again, back and forth, three steps at a time. The polar bear was no longer caged but it wasn’t free.

  • #2
    I've heard that story before, only it was a goldfish in a small bowl who behaved similarly when released into a much larger pond.
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    • #3
      I use similar stories with the kids I coach. One of my favorites is horses tethered to the hitching post. Are the reins actually tied and knotted? Couldn't the horse take off at any time?

      What about elephants chained to the wall on indoor cages? Couldn't the elephant pull loose from the wall?

      In both cases, the animals seem to accept the limitations, so that tying is unnecessary and the wall chains simply need to be in place.

      My beagle is like that. When I let him in from the outside he won't move until I unhook his tether. But if I were to come in from the outside without first being leashed, he'd still wait for me to unhook him.

      As Goethe noted:

      “If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.”


      • #4
        One of the most important goals of kids' sports is helping children develop a sense of not giving up. For such positive coaching, telling inspiring stories are very important.