How do you move eighty tons of sand and clay to build a cob house? One bucketful at a time. How do you embroider a tapestry? One stitch at a time. How do you write a book? One word at a time. How do you climb a mountain? One step at a time. How do you feed a multitude? One spoonful at a time.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
So here are some important things I have learnt from eating elephants:
1. Elephants can block out the sun
When you’re digging in for all you’re worth, head down and shovelling it in, it may seem that you are caught in a dark cave. The sun has disappeared behind a mountain of meat that you will never be able to digest. You cannot see any progress. Heck, you cannot see anything. Does anyone have sympathy? No. Does anyone else see your darkness? No. Because outside the elephant the sun is still shining, the same as it has been doing for billions of years.
Do not get discouraged by the darkness. The light is waiting for you. Just keep swallowing that elephant.
2. You can’t eat an elephant on the run
Even if you’re eating it one bite at a time, it’s a big meal you’ve got there. Don’t try to gulp it down. Pachydermal indigestion, well, you just don’t want to go there.
Don’t take your own sweet time about it, but do take it easy. Give yourself time to digest the enormity of what you are accomplishing and allow yourself a pat on the back every now and then. Document your progress. See this big elephant? Now, two weeks later, see how you’ve eaten into it, that small hole in the rump? Good on you, mate, just keep going.
3. Team Elephant can make it fun
Some things can’t be delegated – any volunteers for chewing the next mouthful? But a buddy to back you up can make all the difference in the world. You may need someone to sharpen your knife (or your pencils), someone to tie your bib (or your shoelaces). Someone to stand on the other side and shout that you’re almost done, even if they’re not quite telling the truth.
If your entrepreneurial spirit allows, you can even advertise the adventure of a lifetime and give guided elephant-eating tours. What enormous fun you can have!
If this has added just a drop of marinade to your meal, I’ll be happy. Bon appetit!