How to Eat an Elephant

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How to Eat an Elephant

Eating an elephant at all might seem like an odd goal in life and yet learning how to eat an elephant is actually a very useful life skill!

If you haven’t heard how to eat an elephant,  then I have a story to share with you that will explain how easy it is to eat an elephant and hopefully prove that I am not completely la-la! This is actually an extract from my second book How to Change the Life You Have for the Life You Want and I’m sharing it here for Marc, who recently shared how he came upon the idea of how to eat an elephant.

How to Eat an Elephant

How to eat an elephant

I have a favourite story, told to me by a friend’s brother a long time ago. It’s about a young lion who was approaching adulthood and as a rite of passage, was expected to hunt, kill and eat an elephant.

He was by nature a confident creature and knew that he could hunt and kill his target without too much problem. He was however worried that he wouldn’t be able to eat a whole elephant and would therefore look silly in front of his friends and bring shame upon his pride.

As he was destined to become the leader of the pride eventually, it was particularly important to him that he should succeed.

A little mouse who lived nearby, came upon the lion pacing and could see from his furrowed brow and shallow breathing that he was worried. Although it was not the normal course of events for a mouse to address the king of the jungle, the mouse was clever and keen to be of service to such a powerful potential ally. Swallowing hard and taking his courage in both hands, he asked the lion what he was so worried about.

In his anguish, the lion did not even question this blatant disregard for his status and gladly confided in the little rodent.

The mouse was a caring and sympathetic character and listened intently as the lion explained his dilemma. It was not a problem he had, or was ever likely to encounter, but he understood the principles involved; pride and the fear of rejection by his peers; and the mouse decided to look for a way to help the lion.

He realised the lion might have trouble accepting advice from such a lowly creature, so he invented a story about another lion who had faced a similar situation and of course been successful.

The lion listened carefully and the wisdom of the mouse’s words was not lost on him. Through his tale of a fellow, mighty and revered lion, the mouse suggested that the lion might overcome his problem of how to eat an elephant, by simply breaking the elephant into smaller pieces first.

The lion, buoyed up by this tale and now convinced of his own impending success, set out on his quest.

He soon managed to secure his prey and following the advice of the mouse, quickly accomplished all the tasks he’d been set.

The lion became very famous in his jungle and the head of a great pride.

The little mouse for his part, became a great friend and trusted confidante of the lion, which meant guaranteed protection for the rest of his life and respect from all the other animals. As in all good stories, they all lived happily ever after. Apart, I suppose, from the elephant!

Ever since I first heard that story, I’ve literally broken tasks down in my mind into ‘bites of the elephant’ and retold the story many times over to friends and my children. The story of how to eat an elephant still makes me smile now!

So, if you feel like you’ve been treading water, and that now is the time to take charge of your life and begin to achieve the things that you really want, then you will find that this book is exactly what you need to get started now.

Why It’s Useful to Know How to Eat an Elephant

If you are wondering what use it might be to you to think about how to eat an elephant, just think back to a time when you were faced with what seemed like a huge task and experienced a feeling of overwhelm or maybe even defeat or despair.

The enormity of what lay ahead seemed so impossible and perhaps you had the added pressure of a deadline to contend with.

In that moment, it’s hard to see how you will ever manage isn’t it…

At that moment you are so close to the elephant, that all you can see is leathery grey skin!

But, fast forward a bit and you will probably recall that you did get done what you needed to and if so, then if you retrace the steps you took in your mind, from overwhelm to successful completion, you’ll probably be able to pick out some key milestones, events and things you did to get you there. These are the bites you took! The stages you followed when you needed to know how to eat an elephant!

So you already know how to eat an elephant when under pressure or overwhelmed. Wouldn’t it be great to employ this success strategy without the need to go through those negative emotions first?

Learning How to Eat an Elephant, One Bite at a Time

How-to-eat-an elephant

If you can remember a time when you managed to achieve something that at first seemed too enormous to contemplate, then you already know how to eat an elephant one bite at a time. The trick is making this a habit rather than a last minute stress response.

Creating good habits is easy, it’s just a question of practice!

All you need to do to eat an elephant is do it on purpose, with intent, over and over again until it’s your natural response to a challenge. Like changing a belief, it just takes repetition.

Quick steps to show you how to eat an elephant

  1. Think about the successful completion of the task and keep that in your mind
  2. Take a step back from the elephant so that you can take it all in
  3. Walk around it, sizing it up and carving it up into more manageable chunks in your mind
  4. Plan out the most logical order in which to tackle the chunks – avoid the temptation to just start with the tastiest bits!
  5. Start! Don’t put it off or you’ll just add more pressure to yourself
  6. Take it one bite at a time, proceeding logically and methodically through the steps
  7. Don’t skip steps
  8. Enjoy the steps, knowing that each one is one closer to the successful conclusion
  9. Keep going until you’ve finished

 Remember the easiest way how to eat an elephant is simply…One Bite at a Time!

I hope you enjoyed this little metaphor. I really do think about how to eat an elephant when faced with something that seems daunting. Perhaps you will now too!

Do you have a strategy that you use when you need to know

    how to eat an elephant

? If so, please share in the comments below!

Teenage Health – Teenagers Really Do Need More Sleep!

Maybe you can remember those long lie-ins and extended sleep periods you craved and enjoyed as a teenager. Or perhaps you have a live-in reminder now. Either way, it’s hard to miss the fact that teenagers do seem to sleep more than the generations either side of them.

Teenage Health

Teenage health is of interest to me because I have teenage children and step children and I do my best to be informed and not perpetuate too many old wives tales. So I read with interest the article by Russell Foster in the New Scientist this week which explains why teenagers really do need more sleep.

If teenage health is important to you, you may enjoy the original on this teenage health matter.

We all know that we feel better when we’ve had enough sleep and that a tired teenager is neither a happy, productive or pleasant one quite often, but there are serious teenage health implications to this lack of sleep too.

As Foster says

Sleep is not a luxury or an indulgence but a fundamental biological need, enhancing creativity, productivity, mood and the ability to interact with others…

… research has demonstrated its critical role in memory consolidation and our ability to generate innovative solutions to complex problems. Sleep disruption increases the level of the stress hormone cortisol. Impulsive behaviours, lack of empathy, sense of humour and mood are similarly affected.

Linked Teenage Health Issues

Other research suggests teenage health issues such as obesity, blood pressure problems and even diabetes may be linked to a lack of sleep.

Aside from social and geographical factors, studies would seem to indicate a correlation between hormones and sleeping patterns, which means that from around the onset of puberty when lots of other teenage health issues begin, we start to wake and sleep later until around 20 where the trend starts to reverse, until around 55 where we have gone full circle and are back to similar bed and wake up times as before those pubescent hormones kicked in. Anyone who has stayed with their grandparents will probably attest to the fact that they always seem to be up at the crack of dawn!

Classic signs of insufficient sleep are, difficulty getting your a*** out of bed, needing a long wake up period, feeling grumpy or sleepy during the day, mood swings and general lethargy.

Solutions for this teenage health issue

The great news is that there are some really easy ways to combat this teenage health issue and it doesn’t just mean going to bed earlier.

Your sleeping environment is important. Make sure it’s dark and quiet and not too warm. It’s better to have a cooler room and more bed clothes rather than have a hot room.

What you do just before bed is also key in this teenage health issue. Electronic stimulation in the half hour before you go to sleep will mean that your brain is still buzzing and on the wrong wavelength for good sleep. This means that you won’t get enough of the sleep that you need for your body to repair itself, for you to rest, for things to be processed by your unconscious and committed to memory and for you to wake up feeling great!

Radical solution for this teenage health problem

One more radical response to this teenage health issue tried in some places in the USA and now the UK, has been to alter the start time for teens in some schools.

Early results seem to indicate that this may be a good solution to this teenage health issue, with improved attendance and exam results being seen; and whether it actually does serve to help with any teenage health issues or not, it’s certainly likely to be popular with the teenagers themselves!

What do you think? Would later start times be a good solution to this or other teenage health issues? What might the drawbacks be?

 

Positive Power Tips

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Positive Power Tips

Some days it seems nigh on impossible to stay positive doesn’t it, especially when life has thrown you a curved ball, or things seem to be out of your control. Everybody has those days, even the most accomplished wielder of positive power! Sometimes knowing you are not alone is enough to make a difference and at other times it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference!

 Positive Power

Here are six positive power tips to help you regain the power of positive thinking on those days when it seems more difficult. These tips come courtesy of Geoffrey James writer for Inc.com. You can see the original article here, or just stay put and enjoy the best bits :-)

Positive Power Tip 1

Refuse to make self-fulfilling prophesies.

If you believe the rest of your day will be as challenging as what’s already happened, then rest assured: You’ll end up doing something (or saying) something that will make sure that your prediction comes true.

Positive Power Tip 2

 Get a sense of proportion.

Think about the big picture: Unless something life-changing has happened (like the death of a loved one), chances are that in two weeks, you’ll have forgotten completely about whatever it was that has your shorts in a twist today.

Positive Power Tip 3

Change your threshold for “good” and “bad.”

Decide that a good day is any day that you’re above ground. Similarly, decide that a bad day is when somebody steals your car and drives it into the ocean. Those types of definitions make it easy to be happy–and difficult to be sad.

positive power

Positive Power Tip 4

Improve your body chemistry.

Your body and brain are in a feedback loop: A bad mood makes you tired, which makes your mood worse, and so forth. Interrupt the pattern by getting up and moving around.  Take a walk or eat something healthy.

Positive Power Tip 5

Focus on what’s going well.

The primary reason you’re convinced it’s a bad day is that you’re focusing on whatever went wrong. However, for everything going badly, there are probably dozens of things going well.  Make list, and post it where it’s visible.

Positive Power Tip 6

Expect something wondrous.

Just as an attitude of doom and gloom makes you see more problems, facing the future with a sense of wonder makes you alive to all sorts of wonderful things that are going on, right now, everywhere around you.

Which of the positive power tips did you like best? I think no 6 is my favourite. Tell me which one you loved below.

Check out one of my best positive power tips, and get an attitude of gratitude to turbo boost your day :-)

Cool Text: Logo and Graphics Generator

Your Mind Power and How Your Thoughts Create Your Reality

When life is great, it’s nice to think that through your mind power and your thoughts, that you are able to contribute or create your reality isn’t it.

It get’s a bit harder to accept when you have the odd day when things aren’t so good. Then the old mind power chestnut isn’t so palatable!

When you are going through a dark period, or it seems like life is hurling one thing after another at you, your mind power feels like it’s done a runner and the idea that your thoughts create your reality sucks!

Your Mind Power Create Your Reality

And yet, it is true, your mind power and your thoughts create your reality. It has to be because of a little thing in your brain called the Reticular Activating System and the way your unconscious mind works.

Your thoughts are created from what little bit of information your unconscious allows through to your conscious mind, a tiny fragment of what’s available to choose from.

Your thoughts then create how you feel, how you look and how you behave.

This has a direct effect on how you interact with the world and other people around you and how you perceive the world to be.

If you picked a different set of ‘things’ to create the picture from, you’d get a totally different perspective and your life would change dramatically. Understand that and you understand your mind power completely.

Your Mind Power

I made a short video to explain this after seeing the adverse reaction a post on luck caused in my private Facebook group (ladies only – feel free to message me if you’d like to join). I hope it explains how your mind power and your thoughts create your reality and might encourage you to feel empowered enough to make changes if you need to :-)

Your Mind Power and How Your Thoughts Create Your Reality

Please leave comments on your mind power and how your thoughts create your reality below :-)

The Perils of Self Comparison

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The Perils of Self Comparison…

What are the dangers of self comparison?

Can self comparison ever be beneficial?

It’s very easy to compare yourself with others, in fact self comparison something we all do all the time. Self comparison helps us to evaluate ourselves and create our perspective of the world; in fact self comparison is part of the process we use to create our self worth and self esteem. The act of comparing is not the problem.

Self Comparison

The danger lies partly in what metrics or measures you use, but above all in the conclusions you draw from these comparisons and what you do with this information.

Do you ever find yourself wanting as a result of self comparison with people who appear much more accomplished than you?

Do you pick people who already seem to have the things you think you’ll never have, do or be?

Do you make this self comparison based largely upon assumptions about the person you are comparing yourself to? Ideas created from something you have read or heard somewhere perhaps? In other words do you compare yourself to people you don’t know intimately?

Most of us do. In this age of ‘access all areas’, intrusive media and constant bombardment of our senses, we feel like we know these people. We believe that we understand them and what they have been through to get where they are and we take what we see and hear at face value.

So when we are unsure of ourselves, perhaps in an area that’s new to us, or one we are less confident in, we look to these ‘friends’ for reassurance and a measure of where we are. We use them for our self comparison.

We may then use our comparative lack of success as a reason to beat ourselves up, or even worse, a reason to quit. There is such a perceived gap between us and them, that we feel hopeless and overwhelmed.

We might feel guilty, sad, disappointed, unworthy or a whole host of other things.

But here’s the thing about self comparison

self comparison - success isnt always what you see

Unless you know this person intimately, you don’t know if what you have seen and heard is true. Look at recent events in the UK where ‘household names’ we beamed into our homes on a weekly basis for years, have now been shown to have been dangerous sexual predators.

Even if you do know them, you are unlikely to know the entire truth and therefore your self comparison is still at best flawed.
How often have your heard or read lines like, “I can’t believe it’s true”, or, “I never suspected a thing”, when people are caught out?

But most importantly of all, the biggest issue with this self comparison is, even if you knew the absolute truth about them and their lives, even if you had access to the same advantages and resources as them, you would still get a different result because you are not them!

Your life, your experience, your way of thinking, your resources, everything about you is unique to you and therein lies your strength.

By all means look for examples of people who already have, do or are what you want. Look at where they’ve succeeded and where they’ve struggled. Learn from their experience and instead of using that as a cage to imprison you and your dreams, use it as a launch pad to shoot yourself past their orbit. Use these relevant people for self comparison.

  • Look at where you have an advantage over them at a similar point in the journey.
  • See where you can avoid things which held them back or improve upon they did well.

Most people love to tell you about how they triumphed in the face of adversity, so ask them if you can and build upon what you learn. Use this for self comparison.

  • If someone else has already achieved what you hope to, so can you.
  • If no one else has ever done what you want to. You can be the next in a long line of firsts!

With the right Mindset and enough determination, you can achieve whatever you set your heart on.

The people you look up to are just people. They eat, sleep and ?! Just like you. They have hopes and fears, just like you. They are born with the same possibilities as you. It’s up to you what you make of your life. Consider these facts in your self comparison too.

Don’t look at them for reasons why it can’t work for you. Wipe phrases like “it’s ok for them because…”, “It was easy for them”, “I’d do that if” from your vocabulary. Whatever comes next is just an excuse you’re creating for yourself. It’s not a truth that can’t be changed. It’s an excuse to keep you safe from something you fear.

Why not try, just for one day now, to compare yourself to no-one but the you of yesterday? Now that’s relevant self comparison!

And tomorrow compare yourself to who and where you are today, and make this self comparison everyday until you are able to look back from the future and realise that in making that decision now, you changed the course of your life for the best?

Do this and you’ll avoid the perils of self comparison all together!

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