How Do You Eat An Elephant?

We all have those moments when we feel that we can’t start a task, pursue a goal or finish a huge mission. Whether you are a perfectionist and don’t want to start unless you are 200% ready, or have suffered from- long term procrastination, I believe there must be a solution.

Coupled of months ago I found a remedy in this senesce: LEARN AS YOU GO

I mentioned previously how this sentence helped me when I was studying abroad, but I am going to mention here how we can use it to come one step closer from our dreams.

Within the business context, a lot of studies showed that the traditional linear thinking is no longer valid in today’s business environment as I discussed thoroughly here for e-commerce business. Linear thinking is about setting a vision and a mission; translating them into objectives, putting them into actions and monitoring your performance. The problem is that we go through a lot of external and internal changes during this process, which means the planning act is more of a continuous process rather than a step at the beginning.

Check below how Linda Clement-Holmes, the senior vice president of Global Business Services at Procter & Gamble, described their approach to deal with today’s rapidly changing business environment.

In VUCA [which stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity], you’re making things up as you go along. We tell people not to wait for everything to be 100% perfect and don’t make the simple complex. Go with your gut and your best professional instinct.

Reflecting this on our personal lives, when we are stuck at a certain point, we should accept the fact that we might not have all the tools, knowledge and wisdom right now, but definitely, they are coming as we go.

Martin Luther King put it very precisely when he said:

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase”.

A very famous book in this regard is How Do You Eat An Elephant? One Bite at a Time. I haven’t read the book, but I think adapting this mindset is comparable to accepting the fact that we should learn as we go.

Notwithstanding the above argument, some people believe that an elephant mustn’t be eaten one bite at a time! Check this article for example. Some points are really valid, but at the end, there is no right or wrong answer! I believe that the next time someone asks: how do you eat an elephant? The best answer is: it depends.

Whenever you feel you can’t start or continue anymore, remember that “one bite at a time” might be a solution.

  • Accept that you don’t have all what it takes to finish it right now
  • Accept that learning is an accumulative process
  • Have faith and believe that you can

Just start somewhere.

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