Elephant Wisdom: Eat the Elephant One Bite at a Time

Elephants are very big, they reach old age and with it, attain wisdom. They are highly revered for their strength and power. The elephant plays a significant role in various cultures around the world and is revered as one who never forgets.

We sometimes face “elephant like” problems in life, huge and grey and we simply don’t even know where to start to overcome these problems. Trying to bite off more than you can chew is often a recipe for disaster. Don’t try to eat the whole elephant with one gulp! Start with the elephant’s trunk and focus only on the trunk. Soon you will make good progress, because when the trunk is finished, you can see the head and one whole part of the elephant will be gone. A tiny bit of hope will build more hope. Positive energy builds more energy.

We tend to worry too much about our problems and don’t take the right actions to solve them. Worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but won’t take you anywhere. Worrying does not solve tomorrow’s trouble; it takes awaytoday’s peace. Worrying can weaken and sicken us and turn our days into nightmares and it prevents us from living the one life that we have, fully and happily.

Simplify your life. If faced with a large problem: stop, analyse, reflect, prioritise, plan, and then take action. Remember, failing to plan, is planning to fail. Big problems will not disappear overnight, because to eat the elephant, you must do it bite by bite!

From African Wisdom by Dr. Lanette Hattingh

Dear Net Buddies,

What do you think about the idea that elephants are wise because they live so long?

Do you ever have problems that feel as big as an elephant?

What do you think about the strategy to take on a problem in very small “bites” rather than all at once – even if it will take longer?

Just as elephants seem to move thoughtfully and with intention, we know your answers to these questions will also be thoughtful and we can’t wait to see them! Now that you can come to the LaunchPads, it should be easier to type them in, so don’t wait any longer.

Read more about Dr. Lanette Hattingh

Purchase African Wisdom here 

One Comment on “Elephant Wisdom: Eat the Elephant One Bite at a Time

Diane Helgerson
October 26, 2022 at 12:25 pm

I think this is the only way to tackle big problems. As a software developer I was so relieved when someone finally taught me the principles of AGILE because it’s a methodology that can be used to approach life not just software. One of the tenets of AGILE is the concept of MVP (minimum viable product) that’s complemented by principle of simplicity. This teaches to only do what’s absolutely necessary to solve the immediate problem – just take a bite out of the problem! Maybe that bite will be enough or maybe it will tell us where to go next. We all need to live more simply and iteratively so we can manage our problems “bite by bite”.


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