This weeks lesson reminded me of a memorable conversation in the past that I had had that made quite an impact. Lets fastfoward about 6 or 7 years . . .
Recalling the past
At the time I was enlisted in the Navy, stationed in Fallon, Nevada as a corpsman (medic in civilian terms) for the Search and Rescue team. This was a very fast paced command requiring extreme dedication and commitment. It’s safe to say that this was one of the most challenging things I have done in my life and often times I found myself feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. There was always plenty to be done . . . qualifications that were obtained and had to be maintained, dedication in the gym to stay in shape, juggling the responsibilities of flying as a crewman at the hanger and performing my clinical duties at the clinic . . . just to name a few.
One day I found myself in the PR shop, which is where all of our flight gear ended up when it needed to be inspected or swapped out. The guy that ran the shop was an old retired Senior Chief and worked there as a government contracted employee after retiring from the Navy. I admired this fella because he always seemed so laid back . . . he never got upset about things, had lots of patience and an added perk was that he understood the Navy’s ways as a result of his time served.
“How do you eat an elephant?”
I’m sure this particular day I was spewing about a mile a minute about everything that had to be done and what was going on with training, exercises and rescues. After I was done with my rant, Sr. turns to me and calmly asks, “Hey Tait! How do you eat an elepant?”
This kinda came out of left field . . . the conversation had shifted from shop talk to eating elephants . . . I thought to myself, “What? . . . why in the world are we eating elephants in the first place?!” He kinda chuckled because I’m pretty sure that I had a dazed and confused look on my face as I stammered, “I have no ideal . . . what are you talking about . . . eating elephants?” He repeated his question yet again . . . “How do you eat an elepant?” I gave it an earnest 30 seconds of analysis, trying to figure out where he was coming from and the relevance of the question.
“I have no ideal . . . I give up . . .” was my response. He slowly turns to me and calmy responds, “One bite at a time . . .” It took me a second to chew on that . . . no pun intended. After thinking about it for a second our two it hit me . . . and it became my life’s question to others when they are overwhelmed with the big picture of life . . . their elephant.
Making the connection
I will persist until I succeed.
Henceforth, I will consider each day’s effort as but one blow of my blade against a mighty oak. The first blow may cause not a tremor in the wood, nor the second, nor the third. Each blow, of itself, may be trifling, and seem of no consequence. Yet from childish swipes the oak will eventually tumble. So it will be with my efforts of today.
I will be liken to the raindrop which washes away the mountain; the aint who devours a tiger; the star which brightens the earth; the slave who builds a pyramid. I will build my castle on brick at a time for I know that small attempts, repeated, will complete any undertaking.
I will persist until I succeed . . .
Whether it be a blow to a mighty oak tree . . . a raindrop which washes away the mountain . . . the aint who devours a tiger . . . the star which brightens the earth . . . the slave who builds a pyramid or little ol me eating an elephant
success hides behind the next bend in the road.
I have found that if I focus on the monsterous elephant that I need to eat then I get overwhelmed and stressed out over the end goal. However, when I take one step at a time, one bite at a time, the task at hand is so much more achievable. When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed in life than ask yourself . . .