Monday, November 14, 2011

How do you eat an elephant?

How do you eat an elephant?

First, some specs:

Elephants are the largest land animals in the world.  

Elephants can weigh up to 14,000 pounds - the equivalent of 5 Porsche Boxsters.

If an elephant had to find a skirt for the prom, she would need to locate a size 162.

If an elephant fell off the vegetarian wagon, he would consume 800 Big Macs a day and still have plenty of room for as many orders of  fries.

So... How do you eat an elephant?

For one thing, you'd have to be pretty interested in accomplishing your task.  Once you started, you'd have to keep going.  It would look at times that you were never going to get through that thing.  

Ron describes this in the article, Happiness and Interest. He says, "Believe me, it takes a lot of interest to get you through the task of digging half a mountain away to find some gold or sawing down a redwood tree. (And they didn't used to have saws when they first cut those things down; they had very bad axes.)  It takes a lot of interest to keep a fellow at a job all the way through."

This doesn't quite answer the question, though, does it?  I mean, where does that interest come from?  There is no prize at the end of our entree - just the satisfaction of a job well(?) done.  Maybe elephants don't taste too good... 

Further in the same article, Ron says, "Interest is not at fault.  It isn't because a person has become interested in things and then had been disabused and betrayed and so had to withdraw from them. That is not what is wrong with the person.  It is simply that he failed to keep on generating interest in what he was doing."

Apparently, we have to generate interest in our plate of pachyderm.  It is not a question of whether it is good or bad or whether we've already made elephant stew over and over again.  Instead, it is simply a question of whether or not we are willing to keep at it until it's done.

Although I hadn't thought of it before just now, I guess this could apply to any large undertaking - not just eating an elephant, but even such things as raising the money to renovate a 60,000 square foot building!

The good news is that generating the interest for a large undertaking is not as arduous and dull as it may seem.  Rather, generating interest  is the key to happiness.  As Ron says, "Well, the clue to happiness is being interested in life.  People's happiness is as great as they can create it.  They will not experience happiness from any other quarter than their own generation.  They will get the amount of happiness that they can generate...  The anatomy back of it is simply this: how much interest can a person generate, and can he generate enough interest to get him over all the heavy energy which has to be invested along the line.  It is how much interest he can generate himself, how much he himself can keep interested in life that makes him happy.  Because happiness is application of self to existence.  That is all there is to happiness."

So, how do you eat an elephant?

Happily, one bite at a time.

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