(It’s just a metaphor; don’t report me to any animal or wildlife protection agencies!)
I was recently reminded of an old riddle: “How do you eat an elephant?”
The answer: “One bite at a time.”
It got me thinking about something that is very stressful in most everyone’s lives: large, seemingly insurmountable projects or tasks that we have to complete. It doesn’t matter whether it is writing a book, getting through a serious illness, or anything in between. It can even be a number of little things that have added up to add pressure to your life. Whether it is one big thing or a lot of little things, whatever it is that you have to do that’s causing stress is your “elephant.”
Here’s another thing to consider; you don’t need anyone else’s approval of your elephant.
If you find it stressful, then it is. Period.
Now, let’s continue with the metaphor. How are you going to “eat” that elephant? How are you going to get through what is causing stress?
One bite at a time.
In this scenario, that means you need to break the task into manageable pieces. Then, when you look at the smaller pieces, it suddenly doesn’t seem so overwhelming!
Let’s say you have to write a thesis on, um... elephants. That’s a big job, a lot of work, and a lot of research. I’m feeling overwhelmed just thinking about it and I just made it up! Instead of being overwhelmed that you have such a big job to do, break it down.
First you have to write an outline. Hmmm… that doesn’t seem too bad. If that still seems daunting, just write the major sections as one task, then write the subsections of each section as separate, additional tasks.
Now, all you have to do to feel like you’re making progress is come up with a few section titles: where they live, what they eat, how they reproduce, social behavior, interaction with human cultures, etc.
See, that wasn’t so bad was it? CHOMP!
Let’s see… “Where they live” Subsections could be climates, countries, and other species that share their space. CHOMP!
Stop for a moment right now and think about just one big task you have to complete.