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How do you Eat an Elephant?

3-Minute Read by Cameron

How do you eat an Elephant?

As a kid growing up, my father used to always have these phrases he would tell us. These phrases were little life lessons that he would constantly be telling my sister and myself to help mold us into the adults we are today. One saying that really stuck in my head was, “You can only eat an elephant one bite at a time.” I think this one stuck with me as a kid because it was so unusual… who eats elephants?

As I got older, I better understood what my dad was trying to say. Whenever you are trying to accomplish a new goal, head out on a new adventure, or come to terms with something challenging, you need to break the thing in front of you down into smaller, bite-sized pieces and take one bite at a time. Sometimes, when we see a giant goal in front of us we often get overwhelmed.

We try to take on more than we can chew, and we end up giving up in the long run.

Imagine starting a new diet. I am sure you have been there before: “Starting today, I am going to try and lose fifty pounds. I am going to cut out all carbs and workout twice a day.”

If this has ever been you, I’m sure you ended up falling in about a week, giving up on your diet and going back to your old ways. Often, we fail because we try to take on too much at one time. Instead of trying to lose all fifty pounds in one go, start with five pounds.

Instead of cutting out all carbs, start by eating a couple of vegetables daily. Break your goal down into small bite-sized pieces and soon you will have an easier bite to chew on.

These same principles can be applied to emotionally challenging events in our life such as a career change, loss of a loved one, or a widespread virus that forces us to quarantine at home. Sometimes, these emotional events can be too much to process.

We end up resorting to food, drugs, or alcohol to cope with these circumstances. Instead of looking at the entire problem in front of us, take it one day at a time, one small bite at a time to help get us through that emotional elephant.

We can all use this principle in our life. The next time you feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath and break down the thing that you are confronted by into small pieces. Write it down. How are you going to break each piece of this elephant down?

Once you break each piece down, start taking your small bites. Bite by bite, you’ll be able to work your way through your problem, and eventually, you will have eaten the entire elephant.


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