How to eat an elephant?

You must be wondering what kind of a question is this. Does anyone eat an elephant? Is it possible to eat an elephant? Well, we are eating elephants every day but we don’t realize it. Writers, especially the kind who write novels, have to eat an elephant whether they like it or not. This is a Guest post submitted by S Srinivasan who is a techno-philosopher who writes lots of articles. Headlines are the key to attracting visitors to your article sometimes they are a bit contradicting but now lets see how to eat an elephant.

Elephant as a metaphor

Any big project is an elephant of sorts. They can be overwhelming, overpowering and awesome. I am sure that when faced with such a huge elephant, we don’t know where to begin. Shall I eat the tail first? Ugh …it is too hairy. Maybe I can start with the trunk? It is takes an awful amount of time just to dig into the first morsel. But once we are done with the first bite, eating the rest seems fairly easy. When we learn how to make it easier, big projects don’t seem as huge as we first thought. It is this elephant which we encounter in our lives and the monster which we need to conquer.

Breaking big projects into smaller pieces

A few years back, when I was still wet around the ears, I boldly started off on an assignment of writing an eBook. This eBook was proposed to be all of 200 pages. Expectedly I got stuck and even after one week of deep contemplation, sleepless nights and poor appetite, I could not get off the starting block. My boss, meanwhile hovered around my desk, staring menacingly at the blank page which was staring gloomily back at me. I suppose one week was a bit too much for my boss and as expected, I was summoned for a chat. Surprisingly, my boss, the great elephant slayer, chuckled when I confessed that I had not written a single word till then. The problem was simple – I didn’t know how to eat an elephant. “Imagine you are writing two hundred blog posts, one after another. Now begin with the first ten posts and then move on to the next ten,” was his simple advice. It worked.

Confronting the elephant

Probably, many of us just don’t start a big project because it is big. Take a business for example. Most of us would rather avoid becoming an entrepreneur because we feel it is a huge task. Since we can’t start a big project, we obviously cannot accomplish anything big. My advice is to confront the elephant head on. Take it apart piece by piece. Break it up into smaller pieces. Chomp down, little by little at a time. Have a time table – half a trunk today, front legs on one week, the body you can eat in the end if you feel too overwhelmed now. It is the same in case of medication. Whether it is Medifast or Nutrisystem discount coupons, you have to take them one at a time. Look at your project as a work-in –progress. It is like a painting – you can’t finish a masterpiece in a day. A painting has to be created layer by layer. To begin with, it is only an image in your mind. Slowly, characters emerge, landscape evolves and the grand vision finally appears in the form of a finished painting.

So, how do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time

S Srinivasan is a techno-philosopher who likes to delve on the other (hidden) side of moon. S Srinivasan also blogs, for a living, on diets and weight loss program and offers newest coupons for Medifast meals , coupon code for Nutrisystem and top online weight loss plans


24 thoughts on “How to eat an elephant?”
  1. Love the elephant metaphor. I also half expected an April Fools joke out of this post! Pleasantly surprised.

    1. Thanks i too thought so when i was asked to published this post there is a great april’s foo joke about Seo over at Zarko’s blog suggest you check that one out.

    1. Hi Vivek thanks for taking the time to add your voice to the debate here It was a brilliant post with a very catchy title. Thanks for your comment and welcome to my blog.

  2. It’s important to just start eating within a few minutes. Anywhere will do, as long as you don’t pontificate about it for a week. Far too many people spend more time planning than actually doing. As a rule of thumb, ‘plan’ for 5% of the time and ‘do’ for 95% of the time.

    Plans look great in paper organizers, colourful computer screens and customer presentations. However, just think how much of the actual project could have been done, instead of putting in all those guesstimates into the task list spreadsheet.

    1. Could not have said it any better Russell planing is good but we need to get the plan into reality else all those time spent making plans won’t count for nothing.

  3. me thought that this is an April Fool Frank. Nice way of representing..especially your heading After reading the heading, everyone is willing to read the article that if anyone eaten elephant 🙂


    1. Sorry to disappoint you this is a guest post written by Srinivasan a brilliant writer who writes lost out intriguing post and when i read this post i did not hesitate to publish it.

    1. Thanks Shabnam glad you loved the post and as you have said it is best to work on one project at a time that way you would get the best possible result.

  4. Loved the way you have written 🙂 . A very well written post.Should work on things one at a time.

  5. Your post reminds me one of my college mathematics teacher who once asked us how to encase an elephant in a refrigerator? And no one could answer his question.
    Its an interesting post.

  6. A very well written and informative article. Well, I cannot relate the same metaphor to my blogging because honestly, I am never been in a mood to eat an elephant. I have been blogging because its more out of a passion rather than a desire to make it more profitable in terms of monetary benefits. Still then, I really appreciate whatever has been said above. Yes…you need to start it slowly but surely. Break you project into smaller number of tasks and then move ahead…you will then surely be completing it all in a given time..!

  7. I love animal metaphors. Elephants are definitely difficult to eat, I’ll grant you that. I’ve always been partial to the other saying about eating animals: If you start off your day eating a live frog, everything else seems pretty easy after that. =)


  8. Breaking a big project into a small one is indeed correct. It is a simple conclusion from project management that if your resources are restricted and time is restricted as well your scope should be restricted to manage the project effectively. Often ,we forget that all industry leaders became leaders after they had put in countless hours of work, solving little problems and then adding everything up .
    I love elephants though :). They are majestic creatures. I would keep them with me rather than eating them. ;))

  9. whoa… I thought the article is something related to GoDaddy’s recent incident. But i found this article more interesting than that. Also i have recently read a similar article on problogger by Kloe on how to work on things one at a time. Anyways, well written and thanks for sharing. Success comes bit by bit one at a time…!

  10. When I first saw the title of this post, I thought it was referring to the incident where Godaddy’s owner posted a video of him killing an African elephant with the villagers eating it. His strategy was kill the elephant and let all the villagers eat it. Maybe we can take away Outsource parts of the big project; although most of the time it’s more of a headache than its worth.

  11. cool never read this kind of article before using animal metaphor..yah really elephant is huge but if you going to eat piece by piece that well take you so long…!!!i think i have to share it..!!!

  12. I sure liked your post here. How to successfully eat an elephant is by taking it little by little at a time. Before I read this post, I also thought it was kind of an April Fool’s joke.

  13. interesting this metaphor things it’s really fun to read..and also thanks for sharing this information..

  14. Liked this metaphor a lot. The concept is simple, but a pretty powerful one nonetheless. Thanks for sharing; this brought a smile to my face!

  15. This is true even with goals. If we break down our big goal into small goals, our big goal will seem doable and achievable. It’s also good to celebrate for every small goal reached.

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