The Starving Piranha – A Lesson In Mindset

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The Piranha was starving, but there was something behind it all. A physical barrier had merely been replaced by a mental one, and we all know which of these is more powerful …

An old scientist and owner of a pet piranha, decided one day to try an unusual experiment. He placed a glass divider in the center of the tank, effectively dividing it in two. With the piranha now trapped on one side, he introduced a coy to the other. Instantly the predator moved, but was checked in mid-flight as it smashed into the glass plate. For an hour, all the piranha did was hit the invisible barrier again and again in an effort to get to the fish

After several unsuccessful attempts, the man noticed a change in behavior. Instead of hitting the barrier head-on, the fish would swim by slowly, brushing itself against the glass, testing the barrier. As time went by the piranhas swimming became slower, its movements smaller, and its attempts less aggressive, until eventually, it sat in the opposite end of the tank and stopped trying

At this point the man thought, “enough punishment of my favorite pet”, and removed the glass. Can you guess what happened?


Both fish kept to their side of the tank! And despite his attempts to scare the predator into darting across by knocking on the glass, his piranha would stop each time, just before where the plate had been!

The old scientist covered the tank and went to bed, hoping in the morning all would be well. But day two was the same, as was day three and day four. Slowly, the piranha died

Consider the following: What killed it? Was the barrier removed? Did the fish have the potential, predatory tools, abilities to eat the coy? If so, why couldn’t it use them? Ask yourself this: how much are we like the piranha?

Obviously the Piranha was starving – but there was something behind that. As predator – both physical and mental – he was used to winning! Unexpected failure planted the seeds of doubt, which sprouted and grew with each loss, leaching the confidence that had sustained it till now. and so, the barrier was not removed. A physical barrier had merely been replaced by a mental one! And we all know which is more powerful. Man will face any physical challenge – swim the canal, climb the mountain, fly with the birds, walk on the moon – but when it comes to a mental block, well, then he tends to blame someone or something else – the weather, the economy, his mother-in-law…

Like the piranha we too have potential beyond our current achievement – deep down we know it. The problem is not skill, it’s the glass-plate, personal and imaginary, locking the skill in and preventing translation to action and achievement. Though it had all the tools, it could no longer use them, because its mentality wouldn’t allow it! Like us, what it wanted lay beyond the glass plate

Though physically a predator, its was mentally a victim. Defeat replaced the predatory mind with a prey mentality, and where before it saw opportunity, it now saw only threat. Its condition beat it. And we are just like the piranha, whose mental and emotional change from PLUS to MINUS lay at the very center of its problems and ultimate failure

If this sounds all too familiar, know that you are not alone, and that the Firewalk Experience, dating back more than 4000 years, has over the ages offered many a way out. The fire is not the problem. Fear and the resultant threat-oriented perspective is! Skill-set, in this case merely knowing how to walk, is not the solution. Mindset is! And so it is with everything, from how we live, to how we work and play, we are for the most part loosing it on feeling, and not on skills!

“We are anxious to improve our circumstance, but unwilling to improve ourselves; we therefore remain bound!”


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