Beware of Distant Elephants

About a year ago I was listening to this podcast and learned about this idea. Beware of distant elephants, as it relates to committing to events in the future. Here is what it means. When you see an elephant off in the distance, hundreds of yards away, it looks tiny and unintimidating. But, as that elephant comes towards you, it gets bigger and bigger and more and more intrusive, until eventually, you want nothing more than to just get out of the way!

Future commitments are often like distant elephants. Someone asks you to do something in three months. You look at your calendar and it is completely clear, so you say yes. Then, as that event gets closer, more and more things pop up and your life gets more and more hectic. Then, the day before the event, you are looking at your calendar and lamenting that you committed to that event because you would much rather use that time to complete a project or go to your kid’s ballgame that was just rescheduled. You said yes to the distant event that was in the non-threatening future, but now that it is here, all you want to do it get away.

I read another piece of advice about this recently that said to treat every future opportunity as if it were tomorrow. For example, someone asks you to take a trip to Florida in 4 months. At first glance, you might think, heck yeah! But ask yourself, if that trip was tomorrow, would you still want to go? If the answer is not still “heck yeah” you should probably say no.

You can listen to the original podcast where I learned this in the video below.

Photo by AJ Robbie on Unsplash

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