Hello, my name is Malia and I am the hare. Man, it feels good to get that off my chest.
If there is one story that I think adequately summarizes the idea in On Eating Elephants it's the story of the tortoise and the hare. The story is not about running, though, it's about life. It's about paying now and playing later. It might be a little bit about humility. It's not about running at all. Seriously, a nap in the middle of a run? That was one cocky bunny.
Most of my life I couldn't relate to this story at all. I never thought I was the hare because I'm not fast. Until this year I considered myself the opposite of a runner. So that means I couldn't be the hare, right? I know my parents had the best intentions with this story, but I pretty much dismissed myself from it as a child. "I'll never be fast, so that makes me the tortoise. Easy Peasy." I just checked it off my list thinking it didn't apply to me.
The thing is, I desperately wanted to be fast.
I wanted to be the hare! I knew full well that the hare loses! But I still wanted to be the hare. I want to have my house perfect all the time, but I want to only do dishes on Saturday. I want to have perfect Zooey Deschanel hair everyday, but I only want to shower and shake it out--15 min tops. I want to be in great shape, but instead of exercising, I skip a meal. I want to have money in savings for emergencies, for a house, for retirement, but I can't say no to those new shoes. All of this is setting me up to scramble when I wake up and have to put extra effort into my life at the very last minute.
I still remember as a kid, telling myself that being the slow one was worse than being the fast one and that if I were the fast one I would never stop to take breaks. "Don't be slow. Don't take breaks." I think a lot of us get completely burnt out on life telling ourselves that.
John Maxwell encouraged me with a story of a coach who would tell his players never to give less than 100% in practice or in a game. He would say that you can't give 90% in practice so that you can give 110% in a game, because you can never give more than 100%. 100% IS all you've got, there's no way to give more than what you have. Instead you just lose that 10% that you didn't give in practice.
This step is still a challenge for me. I have three day clean laundry sitting on my couch instead of on hangers in my closet. It's possible I need a little PA in my life (anyone interested in starting procrastinators anonymous with me?)
It might be impossible to eat an elephant if we miss this step. So I'm going to make it nice and simple to understand by stealing a phrase you're probably familiar with:
Just Do It.
It's not always easy. My encouragement, though, is that you probably don't have to work as hard at "it" as you think you might. Don't try to give 110%--you can't. Sometimes all you can give physically or emotionally is 40%, just do that if that's what you can do. If you don't have time to do all the dishes right this minute, at least do the one you just used, don't add it on to the pile for tomorrow. You DON'T have to be FAST, just don't stop. Just. Keep. Going.
Hi, my name is Malia and I'm going to change my life. I'm not going to be the hare anymore. But I think I might need your help. Comment below if you have any other ideas, advice or vices of your own.