If you can remember back to the time when you thought elephant jokes were high humor, you likely remember the joke: How do you eat an elephant? (Drum roll please……) One bite at a time!
If it tells you anything about the state of my mind as I sat to write this post, that is exactly what jumped into my mind when I read this quote: “I’ve learned that to accomplish much is to accomplish a little each day.”
Add that to my listening to an audio recording today of Earl Nightingale who says, in The Strangest Secret, that, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal”, and you’ve got yourself a triad of suggestion about what I might focus on in this post.
I don’t believe that there are many, if any, ‘overnight’ successes in this world. Having just witnessed the athletes of the 2012 Olympic Games achieve amazing things one might be inclined to think that people like gymnast Gabby Douglas and swimmer Missy Franklin have gained overnight success. But one need only stop and think about the single-minded determination that each Olympic athlete has that allows them to train with the intensity it takes to compete at this level and come out on top. They have spent years focused on their goal of Olympic competition; hours in the pool or on the balance beam to train for those few moments of time when they get their chance to show their achievement.
Each day of training was that one bite of elephant; each technique mastered the accomplishment for that day. The years of training become their ‘successive realization’ of their ideal goal: Olympic Gold!
These ‘bites’ of pachyderm (Bite-O-Derm or BOD for the rest of this post) taken consistently and daily over months and years are what it takes for us to accomplish most anything in life. I’m willing to bet that if you are a decent piano player you did not just sit down and begin to play (although there are amazing prodigies that can do this!). It required practice over time, and possibly even some lessons, to get you to that proficiency.
Becoming a teacher early in my life and then a nurse later in life were not things that just happened overnight. I had to study for several years in college to gain an entry-level foundation of knowledge. It was then again little BODs that advanced me to higher levels of proficiency as a teacher and as a nurse. Most people don’t graduate from nursing school and become the Director of Nursing on their first hire! They spend years taking BODs to develop into the person that is suited to that higher level of responsibility.
And if we truly seek achievement and success we must be diligent in our efforts. Thomas Edison said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Missing the mark can be only a matter of the slightest next step or change. If we give up before we make the last little change that we need to make or take that last step, we will never achieve the goal.
In a YouTube video by motivational speaker Tony Robbins he talks about that very thing; how a millimeter of change can make the difference on so many levels, from how we play golf, to plastic surgery to our own body’s physical response to a feeling of power versus defeat. If we can get this idea through our thick skulls, what a difference it can make in advancing toward our goals and achieving success. (Check it out Tony Robbins Tiny Changes)
What if Gabby Douglas had not spent the last 5 minutes in practice that she did? Or Missy Franklin decided to skip her last training session? Might it have been the difference in what they were able to achieve? And think of all the other athletes that did not grab a medal in these Olympics. Many of them will be that much more dedicated to return to their training and push again toward their goals. While in my mind just making the Olympic team seems like it should be a pinnacle in and of itself, some athletes will continue to take BODs while looking toward 2016!
What are you plugging away at? What is your next BOD? Do you have a worthy goal that you are advancing toward?
In starting my own business I’ve realized one of the reasons so many businesses fail in the first year. I believe that many times it’s because people give up! They become discouraged or the financial impact (which can be very real and can’t be ignored) becomes too great. Whatever your goal you must commit to doing what it takes and sticking with it for the long haul. What if that very next contact you make is the one contact that propels you forward?
When I was in nursing school and my classmates and I would talk about how we were going to get through the challenges of going to school while being wives and raising children, we firmly decided that failure was not an option! We took a BOD every day until we reached the goal!
Just do it and keep doing it! Never give up! Eat that pachyderm one bite at a time and relish the sense of accomplishment when you finally take that last bite!
On the journey with you…….Kathy
(Quote: Age 56- The Complete Live and Learn and Pass It On, by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.)