Are You Being a Trained Flea?

by Michael Berry on July 18, 2014

Flea on a NailFleas are incredible jumpers. In fact, a flea can jump over 150 times its own size. If a man had the same strength, he could jump over 900 feet high, nearly the height of the 01 Building on the Gold Coast of Australia or roughly three times the height of the Statue of Liberty in New York. In addition, a flea can jump 30,000 times without taking a break. Imagine if we had that kind of strength and stamina. We could accomplish anything.

But if a Flea Trainer puts a flea in ajar with a lid on it, the flea will, of course, begin to jump, but after a while, the flea, tired of banging his head against the lid, will lower his jump. Once the flea becomes accustomed to the fact that it cannot escape, an amazing thing happens. You can remove the lid and the flea will only jump as high as where the lid once was. He will never escape the jar because his mind has been reprogrammed to only jump so high.

It is helpful to view what might formerly be seen as failure as temporary setbacks or delays. Both leave open the possibility of a positive outcome.

There are plenty of opinions out there that will say you can’t achieve what it is you set out to accomplish. If we listen to this advice, we can end up feeling like we have a lid over our heads that is limiting our reach. This doesn’t serve our life in any positive way.

Through our own temporary setbacks or delays, and through the advice given by others who have allowed their temporary setbacks or delays to dominate their life experience, we can end up feeling like we are tied to a stake with a very short rope. If we don’t believe in what is possible and choose to go for it we will never have the opportunity to learn new skills or stretch ourselves to any real extent.

Our dreams, and our very life experience, will be equally limited.

Choose it or lose it!


What things that you now consider failures are really only temporary setbacks?

What things that you now_consider failures have really created positive strides in your life?

What things that you consider failures are things you really didn’t want to have happen anyway, or were only half-heartedly invested in?

Can you see that there are really very few failures in life? Only things we give up on (temporary setbacks that we didn’t persevere through), or things that actually pushed us onto a different track (creating positive strides in your life) or things we didn’t want in the first place (that were others’ ideas, or things we were convinced we desired against our own better judgment).

What we are talking about here is a paradigm shift in your perspective of taking responsibility for what has happened and what will happen in your life. You may just discover that you, all along, have been trying to create the life of your dreams–but you have been missing the signs, giving up too soon, or acting on advice or thoughts that are not in a helpful direction.

Personal development is our business and our life.
Michael Berry
In personal development we learn that “we all see and experience the world not as it is, but as we are”.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Deborah A. Ten Brink February 19, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Hello, Michael:

Thanks for being our TSA Group Leader… that’s appropriate because you always go above and beyond what’s expected!

This was such an interesting post. I would never have thought about relating a trained flea to how we too can become conditioned and think that failure is all we can expect out of life because we keep hitting our head on the lid of the jar!

This is why I tell people to consider each day a fresh start, to look around and see the opportunities that abound. Otherwise, you may not see that there really is no lid… you are free to do what you want to do!

Thank you for sharing!

<3 Deborah

Michael Berry February 19, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Great Comments Deborah. Yes it does put it into perspective concerning our self imposed limitations.

Sheena Prailleau February 19, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Wow I did not know this about fleas how interesting. The story really helped me understand the point you are making. Great!

Michael Berry February 19, 2011 at 7:03 pm

I’m glad to be assistance Sheena. Thanks for your visit to my site.

Willena Flewelling February 20, 2011 at 7:55 am

That’s cool about the flea!

It’s something like the story I’m sure we’ve all heard about how elephants are trained. It’s also similar to another story I’ve heard about the jackfish. Put a piece of plexiglass in his aquarium and after bumping into it for a while he’ll stop trying to swim to the other side. Remove the plexiglass and he won’t try because he thinks it’s still there.

It’s an amazing concept, and so applicable to our lives, both personally and in our business building.

Willena Flewelling

Michael Berry February 21, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Yes I do know of those stories as well. Any concept that helps us to understand that it is all about belief is wonderful. Thanks again for all your wonderful comments they are so very much appreciated.

SocialBeeOnline February 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm

I’ve learned over the years that I tend to be influenced by the opinions of others. I’ve protected myself by getting VERY clear on what I want and not looking to others to validate my choices. If I am still in the goal setting process about something, I keep it to myself. Otherwise, I may find that I’ve allowed someone else’s thoughts and dreams to set me on a path that isn’t what I really wanted.

Thanks for this article. It tells me that I’m not silly for thinking this way. Although some have told me I was, and that I should let them help me with my goals because they only want what’s best for me.

Live with passion and purpose,

Michael Berry February 21, 2011 at 11:01 pm

You know Vanessa I used to be the same way. I was really concerned about what people thought about me. It’s such a freeing experience when you realize they’re going to think what they think and there’s nothing you can do about it so what.

Bill Wetherington February 24, 2011 at 9:05 pm

GREAT post Michael…it got me thinking that every setback is a fork in the road, at which we make a choice which moves us forward, holds us back or keeps us stagnant.

Looking forward to reading your other articles!

Bill Wetherington

Michael Berry February 27, 2011 at 12:28 am

Thanks for your comments Bill you got it.

Steve Shoemaker February 26, 2011 at 1:26 am

This is so true. Sometimes we give up without knowing how close we were. Instead of recognizing a temporary set back we packed it in and called it defeat. Great insights here.


Michael Berry February 27, 2011 at 12:34 am

Yes it is Steve. It’s about like the guy that sold his mine because he had not discovered much Gold and the guy that bought it dug 3 feet more and struck a huge vein of gold.

Jane Araguel October 6, 2011 at 6:01 am

Wow I never knew that about fleas. It is quite true that we usually limit the heights we can reach. This is mostly because of negative thoughts or opinions by those around us and even ourselves. We should never limit ourselves to a certain level instead we should strive to give and do our best.

Michael Berry October 6, 2011 at 9:04 am

Bottom line is all based upon our limiting beliefs either from ourselves or placed upon us by others.

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