How do you eat an elephant?

I remember as a kid having the fear of diving into a cold pool. I’d take twenty minutes to toe dip and think about the consequences, feeling it one more time to check if it was still cold. Meanwhile, my sister had already jumped in, accepted the reality and her body had adjusted to the temperature. Within seconds she went from ‘OMG!’ to ‘it’s beautiful in here’. I was still negotiating with the water and the sun.

62 days ago, I started writing my blog. My average post is 1000 words and I have an average of 50 unique views a day in that time. It’s not huge, but it’s also not zero. It’s better than what I had 62 days ago.

I’ve effectively written 62,000 words about love, work, life, happiness and sadness. If I were doing a PhD, I’d be close to finishing my first draft.

If you told me sixty-two days ago to write a 62,000 word book, I’d have laughed and given you a billion reasons as to why that wouldn’t happen anytime soon. And I would certainly estimated a lot more time than two months.

There wasn’t really a goal in mind other than to sit down every day and write an authentic article about how I see life. I didn’t set any expectations. I’ve played around with different writing styles, different subject matter and taking different positions. It’s had some interesting results.

  1. It’s cathartic. Things I would bottle up now get released onto the page.
  2. I’m not alone. Although humble beginnings, I’ve found a small but loyal fan-base who feel my views resonate with them. I’ve also found those who don’t agree which means I’m striking a nerve; I’m not a neutral guy. A following isn’t an easy feat particularly when you’re writing strong opinion on personal subjects.
  3. It’s a discipline that’s become a habit. At first, I had to think about it; force myself. Now, I feel naked if I haven’t written. It’s strange how the mind works.
  4. I’m honing a skill I hope to use for life. Daily practice is the key to mastering something. Just make sure you enjoy it.
  5. It’s increased my mindfulness. When you have the courage to commit yourself to any statement, it pays to choose your words carefully.

From my blog, I’ve been inspired by others who have shared their opinions and stories with me. So inspired, that I’ve elected to pursue this path as my life’s opus. Perhaps I’ll go on to influence 5,000,000 people; perhaps it will just be the same 50. It’s a step-by-step process; it won’t happen overnight nor would I want it to.

Unlike previous works in my life, this one doesn’t feel hard at all; patience comes easily because it’s work worth doing. It has its frustrations but I don’t run out of patience. It’s why I think I’m onto the right path and that makes me happy. I still have some way to go before some things I’d love to do but the difference between 62 days ago and today, is that I have a bearing, 62,000 words and a small loyal following.

There are many things in your life that you’d love to be, love to do or want to experience. I want you to have these things as much as you do. It requires great courage and strength to overcome great adversity because of the things you ‘need to do’. Yet it doesn’t have to be hard work or painful at all. In my experience, it’s not great adversity at all if it’s what I ‘want to do’. They’re just hurdles that are part of the charm. It’s never a chore, a distraction, a sacrifice or a burden if it’s what you want to do.

I’ve had unexpected paper cuts that sting like a swear word and it’s all I could focus on. I have also cut all my fingertips open whilst playing my guitar and just continued playing as the strings continued to slice into me. One was pain out of place; the other pain absorbed into the cause. It’s still a cut on my finger but my brain interpreted them differently.

Perhaps one of the greatest challenges of being a big picture thinker is seeing the million steps between where you are now and where you want to be. It can render even the strongest men and women into dribbling wrecks.

I never thought I’d be the one to say this, but perhaps try setting the bearing, mark the horizon but then get back to mastering (and enjoying) the controls. Trust the bearing, trust your navigational instinct and invest your time into what you produce today than what you might produce one day. It’s inevitable that you’ll have the re-mark your point but at least you’re moving in the right direction.

I think Lao-tzu, a Chinese Philosopher said it best nearly 2500 years ago. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Our ancestors seemed to be just as scared of the cold water as we are today. So whether you toe dip or dive right in, the water is still cold; you are the variable. Jump in and let it wake you up; you’ll adjust.

So how do eat the metaphorical elephant? Easy. One bite at a time – and savour every mouthful. It doesn’t matter if you’re new, rusty, afraid or overwhelmed. It matters that you start, that you keep doing it and that you enjoy it. It’s not hard at all if you genuinely want it from the heart and not just your head.

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