E + (SPACE) R = O

When I was a little child my mother used to say, “Dogs bark, Elephants do their work”.  Then, I did not know what it really meant. Somewhere back in the year 2003 an incident occurred which brought a realization.

As is my habit, I was reading a book before going to bed when I heard street dogs barking. I got up and looked out of the window. I saw that there was this huge elephant and there was the mahout sitting atop him. (It is quite common to see this sight in India)


There was a group of 6 to 7 street dogs around the elephant and they were barking loudly. The elephant was however unperturbed. He was walking away at his own pace. The barking of the dogs had no effect on him – neither did he change his direction not did he let the barking affect his behaviour. The elephant continued peacefully. Nor did he trumpet out loudly. Although that would have silenced the dogs instantly.

In every city, street in India you can find street dogs; some in very pitiable conditions. I realized this when I got an opportunity to see how different it is in UK and Europe. In these parts of the world, you find the pets being treated with as much love and affection as human beings. You find a pet dog or cat in almost every household. You will hardly see a stray dog or cat. The dogs and cats in India are not so lucky.

Coming back to the incident, looking at the elephant and the barking dogs I remembered the saying and understood the true meaning. Whichever lane the elephant went he was met by different groups of stray dogs barking at him. But the elephant did not leave its peaceful nature. It continued peacefully on its way and the dogs ultimately quieted down.

I took the lesson that whatever the circumstances, one should not lose patience. I must maintain peace and calm in my mind and mind my own business.

Friends in our lives there will be people around us, our family members, and our office colleagues knowingly or unknowingly incite us. Either they will criticize or make fun, poke you into getting into an argument.

These things occur commonly. Either your wife is nagging you or says something nasty that you lose your calm and start arguing with her. This spoils the environment at home. Or it could be your husband who says some hurtful words and you lose your patience. Then it is just finger-pointing at each other and the atmosphere is like war.

By reacting most times it leads to cracks in the relationship. Instead if we remain calm like the elephant, not get disturbed rather we think before we speak then our relationships will be stronger and love shall prevail.

” It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters” –Epictetus ( c.AD 55-c. 135)

Human nature is such that everyone wants to speak no one wants to listen. But it is possible to change habits, if we want to. It would almost appear as if people were under some obligation to talk, whether they had anything to say or not.

Jack Canfield in his book “Success principles” refers to the same thing but explained a little differently.


Viktor E Frankl, the author of Man’s Search for Meaning wrote; in every situation, there is a space between the situation and how we respond to it in that space will determine our outcome. You have a choice to decide how you are going to respond or react in that millisecond space of time. Think about it.

Whenever your loved ones behaviour towards you or the words they said are hurtful and make you angry please recall the elephant and remain calm. If the elephant had got incited due to the dogs barking then it would lead to havoc.  No one will be spared from the elephant’s wrath.

Similarly when we are upset with our loved ones we tend to affect others around us and give them pain. We get drawn in the negative vibration and react with more hurtful words and actions.

What other surrounding people say to you is not in your control. How they react is none of your business. Don’t react on other people words, it’s their word. They unconsciously delivered it. Elephant doesn’t have any control over barking of dog. But how you react or response on other person’s dialogue or statement is absolutely in your control.

When you don’t like the way other people talk to you; just keep quit and immediately remember or recall the word “space, elephant and E+R=O”. At all do not react and you will see you are going to win by reducing the power of opposite person. If you react you are giving away your power. It’s your choice.  Respond like an elephant.  Give a space to think before you say anything.  Do not instantly react like barking dogs.

If we learn from these lesson, we are on the path to live a better than good life.  Be happy, earn money and do always something worthwhile to get respect from others …that’s my wish for you! …Btgraj

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