Dec 2, 2010

Dwell or Move On, It Is Your Choice :o)

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. We all know the saying, but we often fail to apply this lesson in our lives. If you view the elephant as one giant goal that your whole life depends on, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Why not enjoy the bites along the way?  I know that this is one of my personal strengths, taking an issue and breaking it into parts and tackling the parts.  I keep the bigger picture in mind, and have two-second celebrations along the way.

However, if the elephant is something that has annoyed, angered, or upset us, and we are ruminating on it, enjoying bites along the way can be counter-productive.  "Studies show that dwelling on irritating feelings and episodes amplifies their power in our minds -- a real source of unhappiness. If I take a moment deliberately to distract myself from bad feelings, I help alleviate them." -- Gretchin Rubin, The Happiness Project.

I know that I am not one to dwell on things that have annoyed or angered me.  Depending on the size of the issue, it is a matter of talking/thinking it out in a matter of minutes or hours, or over a period of days.  Once I have made my decision, then it as "hasta la vista" to the ruminating and dwelling.  Time to move on and tackle a worthy elephant.

How do you deal with the elephants in your life?


  1. Excellent advice. I don't deal with my "elephants" very well. I hope my "wife" doesn't ever read this.

  2. To be honest, I feel that I deal with elephants rather well. It is only when they are a part of my everyday do they occupy my active thoughts.

  3. Hi Ken,
    I usually do the same as you: break the "elephant" into small pieces and tackle each rather than getting overly stressed. However, I'm a terrible "dweller": It doesn't happen often, but when something really bothers me, I dwell on it. If someone crosses me, I'll remember it -- file it away quietly, sometimes for years -- until I can set things straight.

  4. Ken, I've had to develop the same kind of philosophy as you have to deal with overwhelming problems, that frankly don't have easy real world solutions. I just keep trying even if every effort is met with failure. The only alternative is to give up. I can't do that.


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