When talking about the idea of change, Desmond Tutu once said that “there is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.”
Obviously the very idea of even eating an elephant is pretty gross so what does he mean?
What Bishop Tutu meant was that to achieve change we have to do it bit by bit not all in one go – it’s too much!
In relation to our own day-to-day lives then we can easily get overwhelmed. You might have a huge problem to solve or a massive amount of work to tackle but these can be done gradually by taking on just a little at a time.
Always full of wisdom, this thought-provoking metaphor is something he said in the documentary film I AM in which director Tom Shadyac (Nutty Professor, Ace Ventura, Bruce Almighty) speaks with intellectual and spiritual leaders about what’s wrong with our world and how we can improve both it and the way we live in it.
Time is the key word when eating an elephant because this is all about effective time management.
But each elephant has to be broken down and what looks to be an impossible task isn’t. If we go bit by bit and bite by bite, then we’ll make the seemingly impossible possible.
Many of us will fail to achieve a massive goal because we try to eat the whole elephant at once.
You need to take one step at a time and prioritise.
This saying also reminds me of Eating The Frog.