One Step At A Time

“A short while ago I stepped outside of my comfort zone and discovered that I had inadvertently left the key on the other side of the door.” Someone I Know

The mysterious they that people refer to say the best way to eat an elephant is one piece at a time. You do remember they, don’t you? They are the folks who have the answers to anything and everything.

Anyway I used to hate the “eat an elephant one piece at a time” expression but have come to appreciate it because it makes sense to me and when you are talking about philosophy that is important.

That is because the answer to the best way to go through life is subjective so we have to figure out what sort of path/approach makes our heart smile and our soul sing.

One Step At A Time

One step at a time is an expression that I have heard my entire life. I don’t want to wait to eat the elephant one piece at a time, I want to consume it all right now. I want to open wide and swallow the damn thing in one bite.

While it might be fair to say I have a big mouth even I don’t have the sort of gaping maw that can handle that bad boy–not to mention that my dysfunctional digestive system would enter full mutiny mode and that is a battle I am not real interested in fighting.

So when there is a lot going on and I feel a bit crazed because my to do list feels like it will never be to done I have learned to take a deep breath.

As my grandfathers and father have taught me I can only do what I can do so there is no point in beating myself up about not being able to stop time, fly or see the future.

One step at a time means take care of my business as it comes and try not to worry because it is wasted energy.

Easy To Say But Hard To Do

My kids have heard all this many times. When they feel pressure because they think they have too much homework I smile and tell them to break it up into bite size pieces. ‘Don’t make yourself crazy trying to do everything at once. Focus on small pieces and in a short time you won’t have much if anything left to do.”

I said the words out loud while writing them and laughed because it was ridiculously easy. But I would be lying if I said my mind isn’t whirling at a mile a minute. I have got things to do and I can’t start some of them until I get answers to some questions.

But I can’t get these answers until the people I am waiting for give me answers to other questions so all of these projects are tied up in one giant domino line.

Writing Is Cathartic

Writing is cathartic. It makes me feel better to put these words on this page and share them with you.

That is because when you lay things out online it makes it easier to see just what sort of things we are dealing with. It helps put them into context and makes it easier to identify what is what, which is which and what my priorities should be.

If you haven’t tried it I highly recommend doing so.

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  1. Geoff Livingston January 21, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    I am happiest when I write, but as I publish more and more, I have grown accustomed to the one step at a time ethos. I increasingly cringe when I read other authors talk about their not written book that they are writing, it’s kind of placing the cart before the horse.

    But there is one exception, I do appreciate those that write openly online showing the process of writing a book. In that case it is one openstep at a time.

    • Jack January 21, 2013 at 11:09 pm

      Hi Geoff,

      I flip between the two places. Sometimes I see writing as a tool we can use for accountability.

      It is where we state our intent to do XYZ and then mark our progress, but that only works if you respond to public announcements of accomplishments or lack thereof.

  2. Sarah Park January 21, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    Writing for me is like shouting to the world what I want to express. It feels good to put into writing what is on your mind and in your heart.

  3. Bill Dorman January 21, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Ah yes, I try to remember this because at times I feel overwhelmed with all I want to accomplish. That is when I need to step back, take a deep breath and just get started, one thing at a time. It’s amazing what you do end up accomplishing…….

    • Jack January 21, 2013 at 11:06 pm

      Hi Bill,

      It is easy to feel overwhelmed. Sometimes I think it might be a universal connector between people because I imagine it is something we all feel.

  4. Hajra January 21, 2013 at 6:47 am

    Writing is healing. But for me, sharing my writing always is tough. I need to overcome that and have the courage to share my writing more often.

  5. Betsy Cross January 21, 2013 at 3:51 am

    Elephants have very thick skin…just a thought. Don’t know what it means except maybe we shouldn’t be eating elephants. (I made myself laugh) 🙂

  6. Julie Barrett January 21, 2013 at 3:27 am

    That’s funny, I just wrote 2,000 words about my weekend with my inlaws and YES I feel much better and back in perspective. I must know coarser people because I always heard it as “very slowly the elephant (insert curse word here) the mouse.” That’s how I have felt every time I needed to take a major step while waiting for the shoe to drop – if I only knew IF, and WHEN, and where, then I could step into action. Turns out, it is a waste of time to plan before you know. That is pretty much how I would characterize my last three years. And yet at the same time, everything that needed to happen, happened.

    • Jack January 21, 2013 at 6:46 pm

      Well I wouldn’t say I haven’t heard more colorful variations of the expression, that is just part of the fun.

      I know the feeling of wishing I knew what was going to happen or had enough information to relax, but it hasn’t happened yet. 😉

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