Thursday, 31 March 2011

One bite at a time

On the first day of the final year of my bachelor’s degree studies, my animal physiology professor gave me and the rest of my class a little nugget of advice that has since served me very well.  Sitting in that class, with our brand new, bright red, super thick text books in front of us, he asked us the following question: “How do you eat an elephant?”  After a few moments of confused silence, he went on to answer his own question: “One bite at a time”.

It would have been so easy to feel overwhelmed by the thought of memorizing that entire red text book on that first day of the semester.  Instead, his advice to us was to work at it a little bit every day of the year, and that that would make the seemingly impossible task possible.  And you know what?  He was right.  We made it.

Since passing third year animal physiology, his piece of advice has proven spot on in so many different situations: Overwhelmingly big projects at work - those ones where it’s difficult even to figure out where to start; paying off a home loan; writing up a thesis; moving house; cleaning up a huge mess…  Tackling an initially overwhelming task bit by manageable bit always delivers satisfactory results.

And so, next week this time, I’ll be putting my professor’s advice to the test one more time: During the Paris Marathon.  Instead of visualising having to cover the entire 42.2 km, I’ll divide it into more manageable chunks: The next five kays; the next water table; the next meeting point with my loved ones.  Bring it on!

1 comment:

  1. Wise words indeed and believe me it works 100% during a long run. You'll be great!


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