Tag Archives: Bite

Eating an Elephant

11 Feb

There are times in all of our lives when we have a lot to do, things are complicated, and we’re under stress. A hundred things could be happening, and we may find ourselves struggling to keep up and manage it all. It’s easy to get overwhelmed at times like these and we may think we can’t handle it. When there’s a lot going on and a lot expected of us, we can feel like we’re chasing a train. There is no way to catch it but it can seem we’re expected to anyway. It’s hard to navigate everything when there’s a lot happening, but we can manage it more effectively if we step back and take it one step at a time. If we do the first step, and then the next, one after the other we’ll manage everything and get to the finish line. We don’t have to look ahead and try to do all that must be done going forward. It’s enough to tackle what must be done today. We can keep the long range goal in our sites, but if we focus only on what we must accomplish today, we will more effectively move forward. Stress can make it hard to think and see things clearly. Taking one day at a time will help alleviate that. Perhaps you’ve heard the old question, “How do you eat an elephant?” We all know the answer – one bite at a time. The same is true when we have a lot weighing on us. We can accomplish it by taking it one bite at a time.

There are many facets to our lives and at times it seems every one of them is pressing for our attention. Perhaps our families have special needs, and our projects at work are intense, and the car needs servicing, and we have to get supplies for the neighborhood party, and we forgot we promised to help a friend with a repair, and a dozen other things. Each task is easy to complete on its own, but when they are all jumbled together we can feel buried alive with no air to breathe. But each task, no matter how pressing, can be managed. If we take a few moments and make a plan, and determine how much we can accomplish today and what we can postpone until tomorrow, we will succeed. We are perfectly capable of managing our lives, no matter how complicated they become. We have the key to un-complicate them. We just need to take care of today. Tomorrow we’ll do tomorrow. And the next day we’ll manage that day. If we take it one step at at time, we’ll succeed in getting everything completed.

In this day and age it seems there are more expectations on us than ever before. There is always something more others want from us. But we are in control of our lives and we can say no if we need to. We don’t have to do everything we’re asked to do. We know how much we have already, and if adding more to the “to do” list will break the bank, we can decline. Saying no is an appropriate and sensible choice when saying yes would overwhelm us. We may disappoint the person asking for our time, but agreeing to do something we don’t have time for will only set us up for failure. It’s better to wisely monitor our choices so we can accomplish the commitments we’ve made. We are in charge of our lives and our decisions. It’s fine to say no when we need to. Being proactive in our choices will help us feel more control and enable us to better manage our responsibilities. We all want to be helpful, but sometimes that means we need to take care of what we have already and decline the opportunity to do more.

Today if you’re feeling overwhelmed with all you have to do, stop for a moment and look at what you can reasonably accomplish today. Make a plan to complete those tasks and tomorrow begin again. You can do anything but you can’t do it all at once. Just take care of today. One step at a time is all you need to take. Keep moving forward and you’ll find all the success you’re seeking.

Tickling the Tiger

17 May

Right is right, and wrong is wrong. This is undeniable. In a lot of cases we all agree. For instance, murder is wrong, stealing is wrong, and cheating is wrong. But the trouble is, except for the extremes, what I think regarding right and wrong may not be what you think. I’m clear on my values, and you are clear on yours. Putting them together, they may not match, and there’s the rub. But we have to make our own decisions regarding right and wrong. We each have the privilege of choosing for ourselves. I may not agree with what you think is right, you may not agree with me. That’s the reality of living with others.

Whatever we deem to be right for us, deserves our respect. If it’s something we value, we need to honor it. Otherwise we can twist our lives up in ways that make it hard to discern not only right from wrong, but where we are, and where we’re going. Sometimes, we make decisions that skirt the line, and find ourselves in situations that threaten to compromise what we really want. For instance, if we are married, we may determine that extramarital affairs are wrong. We’re not going to do that. But then someone at the office that we’ve noticed several times, asks us to lunch. It’s not like it’s a date, it’s work. We don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, so we go, and have a great time. Then, because we had such a good time, they ask us again the next week, and we go again. Before long, we find ourselves lunching, and chatting with them on a regular basis. And then we feel it – that pull. The draw to get closer to them. And the thought of an extramarital affair creeps into our thoughts, and unless we’re very careful, we may begin to entertain it. We’ve gone all the way from believing that was wrong, to possibly now, considering it.

If we don’t draw a hard line between what we determine is right, and what is wrong, we may find ourselves in situations like this. We’re tickling the tiger, hoping it won’t bite. Getting close enough to the edge to feel the thrill, and sure we won’t step over the line. Of course, we all know how that goes. Once we’ve crept so close to the edge, it’s very easy to take the final step. We’ve all seen this, or even experienced it. After the situation has gone too far, people often say things like, “It just happened,” or “I couldn’t help it,” both of which are patently untrue. Nothing just happens in situations like this. We plan for them, step by step, inch by inch, and despite the danger we keep going forward.

Today if you feel your values being tested, if you think you might be stepping away from what you truly want for yourself, stop. Just stop, and think again. Don’t risk destroying the choices you’ve made, the person you want to be, or compromising your future. Make your decisions carefully. If you’re tickling the tiger already, thinking about doing something you know is wrong for you, stop now, and re-evaluate the long term ramifications. Nothing we do disappears the instant it’s done. All our decisions stay with us. Forever. Your choices are valuable, and critical. Make them well. You’ll be happier if you do. Tickling the tiger is only fun until it bites. Then the scar lasts forever, and you will never be the same again. Remember who you are. Choose carefully. Create the future you really want by choosing well today.