The core of this story belongs to Tony Robbins, though I have Blackdragonized it.
For many of you, this is your story.
Once upon a time, a lion cub lived with his mother and father in the pride on the plains of Africa. One day, a group of hunters attacked the pride. The lion cub watched as his father was gunned down and killed. Still a small cub and not comprehending what was happening, he ran this way and that, trying to understand.
His mother snatched him up and hurled him into some nearby bushes to save him. Then, she too was shot.
The cub still did not understand, but he was scared. He ran and ran. He survived. He was the only lion in his pride to do so.
Hours later, he stood alone on the plains, and a flock of sheep strode by. One of the sheep brushed up against him, and said “Baaaah.”
He cocked his head to one side. Again, the sheep said “Baaaah.” She indicated with her head that he should follow them. Not knowing what else to do, the lion cub did so.
The lion cub was raised by his new family, the sheep. The sheep were timid and kind. They were loving and gentle. Often the lion, now fully grown and no longer a cub, would join the sheep, grazing peacefully on the plains or drinking water out of the lake. He would say “Baaaah,” just like the sheep. He acted like a sheep and lived like a sheep.
The lion loved the sheep, but in the back of his mind, he sometimes sensed something was wrong. He could never quite put his finger on it, so he tried not to think of it much.
He wasn’t happy. He wasn’t miserable. There was always that nagging sense of wrongness, but he was… comfortable.
One day, a pride of lions attacked the sheep. The young lion watched in horror as these fearsome beasts ripped his friends to shreds and feasted on their carcasses.
A large, older lion went over to the young lion, and roared in a happy greeting. The younger lion cowered away, like a sheep, and said, “Baaaah.”
The older lion smacked the younger lion across the face. “What the FUCK is wrong with you?” he cried. “You’re a lion! Not a sheep!”
“Baaaah,” the lion replied.
“Jesus,” groaned the older lion. With that, he grabbed the younger lion by the scruff of his hair, and dragged him, kicking and struggling, over to the lake. Why was this older lion being so mean to him? Why did he kill the sheep? This older lion was clearly a total asshole!
Finally, the older lion pushed the younger lion’s head down toward the water, almost touching it but not quite.
“Witness! See your reflection in the water!” said the older lion. “You are a great and powerful LION! You are not a sheep! We rule this kingdom! You are one of us. Remember who you are! BE who you are!”
The young lion saw his reflection in the water, and was confused. Even after the older lion released his grip on him, the lion continued to gaze at himself in the placid lake. Indeed, it was him. Indeed, he looked just like a lion.
But no. That cannot be. I was raised by sheep. I am a sheep, not a lion. Lions are assholes. Sheep are sweet and kind. I’m not an asshole. I am a sheep.
Conflict raged within him. He shook his head in pain and said “Baaaah.”
The older lion was wise, and could see the inner conflict within the younger lion. “Here,” said the older lion. “I will make you remember.”
Once again, the older lion grabbed the younger lion and pulled him over to the rest of the pride, who were feasting on their sheep dinner. The lion then ripped a piece of fresh flesh from one of the carcasses, and shoved it into the younger lion’s mouth.
The younger lion was horrified. He tried to spit it out, but the older lion grabbed his muzzle, forcing him to chew and swallow it. “Remember!” he cried. “Remember who you REALLY ARE!”
The young lion thrashed about, trying to spit it out, trying to throw up, trying to break free of the older lion’s grip, but years with the sheep had made him weak as compared to the greater lion before him. Eventually, the younger lion succumbed and swallowed the meat, full of disgust.
But then, a strange thing happened. The disgust suddenly… went away. The meat tasted… wonderful. WONDERFUL! The young lion suddenly felt a power deep within him he had never felt before. Fire arose in his eyes, strength came to his muscles, and clarity came to his mind.
Seeing the change, the older lion released his grip, nodding slowly. The younger lion rose up, and roared. It was the first time he had ever roared in his life, and the roar echoed throughout the plains and was heard by all. The other lions in the pride turned and regarded him, roared their approval, recognizing their equal, a great lion; the newest member of the pride.
A great fog lifted from the young lion, and for the first time in his life, all felt right. Finally, after living his entire life as a sheep, he realized what it meant to be who he truly was. This was power. This was happiness. This was fulfillment. This is who he was always meant to be.
He joined the pride, and lived a life as a lion, a life of greatness and happiness.
Never again would he be a sheep.
Now, he would roar.