If you heard this for the first time, I am sure what you are thinking. But no, it is not like you are going to eat an elephant. My teacher once said, English is a funny language, and I guess she referred to this type of sayings, metaphors, and phrases. Before further ado, I would like to start because I know you are quite eager to figure out about eating the elephant meaning.
1. The Meaning of the Metaphor
A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an action, situation, or object. Though there is no literal connection between the two. It can also be used to regard, represent, or symbolize something. (See What Does 10-4 Mean?)
2. Eating the Elephant meaning
If you still do not understand, then read ahead. In the term eat an elephant, eating refers to solving or handling work and elephant refers to big problems or big or unattainable goals. The entire phrase means to solve the problem or to achieve a goal that seems so big at the moment, just like an elephant. (See Meaning Of One Two Fun Monkeys)
3. What did Tutu said about this phrase?
An African bishop and theologian, Desmond Mpilo Tutu, mentioned that there is only one way to eat an elephant, and that is one bite at a time. He, in short, solved the entire mystery behind this term. It simply means that you should take one step at a time. If the problem or goal is so big that it resembles an elephant to you, then it is quite impossible to gulp it down in one go. Therefore, to reach the end of a situation, it is better if you untangle the rope one knot at a time. It will be much easier and less troublesome. (See How do you say Sea in French?)
4. Meaning of Eating the Elephant in Terms of Goals
If you are thinking like this regarding your goals, then note down that eating means setting short-term goals to attain that big goal. Nothing is going to fall in your arms just like that and panicking is surely not beneficial. For example, you want to get to the terrace and you are on the first floor. There are 7 floors in between. You will simply go by stairs or elevator but one floor at a time. (See What does 4 score and 7 years ago mean?)
5. Ways to Eat an Elephant
No matter how weird eating the elephant meaning sounds, still you have to understand how to do goal-setting and how to eat the elephant. For this, you need to consider this situation as BHAG and work SMART.
- BHAG means Big Hairy Audacious Goal.
- SMART means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Also, check out 7 Steps For Managing Difficult Employees
6. Steps of BHAG
1st step in BHAG
Take a deep breath and ask yourself these questions as a part of the 1st step of this journey.
- What does this elephant look like? Is it scary or just big?
- Why are you doing this? Why is it important to you?
- What will be the checkpoint?
- How will you feel after reaching the checkpoint?
- When are you planning to hit the checkpoint? Like in a month, week, or year? Must read what does it mean when someone says Grand Rising?
2nd step in BHAG
Now is the part to ask yourself about the available resources.
- What should be your first step? (1st goal)
- What do you have in terms of resources, help, knowledge, etc.?
- If you are stuck, who can come to your rescue?
- Who can be your coach?
- When are you planning to finish this 1st goal? (See List of Field of Study Examples)
7. Working on SMART Meaning
Here it refers to being clear and concrete about your goals. Eating the elephant meaning and setting a goal is as easy as writing it on paper. But working to achieve it can be tiring sometimes. However, if you are clear in your mind as to why you are doing it and how you will do it, then you are being specific about your goal. (See Why is Quantitative Research Important?)
8. How to Measure your Goals?
Set a goal that, when achieved, should give you the feeling that you have walked further in your journey. For example, if your goal is to reduce 30 kilograms of weight in a year, divide the steps that you will take in the entire journey and label them as short-term goals. Like you will try healthy food in your first week and continue with it for a month.
Moreover, keep your goals short, realistic, and attainable. Then you will be able to achieve these goals with more passion and dedication, following the way of eating the elephant meaning. You know when you take a bite bigger than your mouth, things get messy. The same is the case with goals and problems. Try to put reality in your plans rather than pipe dreaming. In this way, when you complete a month and the goal, you will feel that you have attained a victory in your 12-month journey by completing a month of healthy food habits. To know more about it, check out why should goals be measurable?
9. How Timing is important?
As I said, decide the time limit, your pace, pattern, and methods. This is the only thing to reach the goal on time. Think properly and do research, if necessary, but do set a time limit. A goal without a deadline will not keep you dedicated to achieving it. According to the motivational coach, Zig Ziglar, a goal properly set is halfway reached. (See How long is 1 Million Hours?)
10. Do you Celebrate your Wins?
Yes, it is important to set and achieve goals, but never forget to celebrate your wins. Every time you achieve the goal, you have to pat your shoulder and encourage yourself to move further. Everyone knows a little self-care and self-love are important to boost your self-esteem. Also, check out what does it feel like to achieve your dreams?
Hopefully, you have understood what is eating the elephant meaning by now. Now, ask your friends and family if they know the ways to eat an elephant and watch their reactions. (See How Do You Handle Difficult Situations?)