How Long Do You Think Before You Act?

5  Steps to Eat a Rhinoceros (Are you procrastinating?)

With Invitational spirit and a little childlike humor, I’d like to offer something I believe has real value. After all, life is about giving and it’s about growth. I say, don’t allow people to pull your strings. Don’t trap yourself in dogma. Make your life brilliant. It might be time to let go. You’re not a marionette or locked in a dungeon. I encourage you to stretch, break any shackles and set yourself free. I offer this because it’s close to my heart. I enabled people to pull my strings until they weren’t strings anymore. They were more like frayed threads. Don’t let this happen to you!

In my experience, many of us think about things way too long before doing. We ask too much advice and over prepare. Perhaps, we don’t believe. Perhaps we think we’re not able? To the contrary, how can we know unless we try? Don’t’ hold back. Let it all go, lean in and step up. It may be time to stop embodying or collecting knowledge like a trinket or a fragile vase. It may be time to move from collecting toward applying. “Application spurs wisdom.”

Let’s peel it back a little. Most of us sense when something is wrong. This is recognized as frustration. At this juncture (the beginning) many of us find ourselves asking questions such as, “What is this?” or “Why did this happen to me?” but as I write it and you read it, you already know these are the wrong questions. Why then do we do it? Who knows? A simple suggestion as a reminder, don’t do it.  Those types of questions lead nowhere. Instead try asking the following:

What beauty is in this? This may sound strange at first, just try it once. You may be surprised where it takes you. Now for the question filled with power. What can this become?

Training yourself to ask these questions can take you places you’ve never been. They’ll take you on adventures outside yourself. These questions will stretch you and contort you in ways you didn’t know were possible. They will take you toward breakthroughs. If you haven’t already, try it!

Ask yourself a few more questions: What are you aiming for? Is it the correct target? Are your sites high enough?  Did I take the right aim? For a long time my sites weren’t high enough and unfortunately, I ended up exactly where I set them. When asking yourself about your aims, imagine a gps.  There’s accuracy and there’s precision. Many don’t clearly see the difference. However, these are separate things. One is a measurement The other is degree. Accuracy may get you within a mile but precision will put you on target.

Ask yourself, what needs done? What needs changed? Once you know (most of us do), It’s time to get to it. Sounds simple right? However, our minds know it’s overwhelming. Too Overwhelming. Like eating a rhinoceros. In cases such as this, the mind finds ways to justify not doing.

I realize  we’ve all heard how to eat an elephant. But it’s still not working. Is it? Let’s try something different. Here’s a quick disclaimer. If it’s extremely serious and you dont know the root cause, seek a coach. However most things aren’t serious . If you know what’s holding you back, get to it! Most know deep inside, it’s ourselves holding us back. Fear maybe? If you need help. Speak that out loud. Go to a trusted friend willing to collaborate. Don’t hold yourself back. Don’t put it on a shelf or table it too long. Time is a commodity. Make it work for you. I urge you, don’t lose time like I did. I refuse to lose anymore.

So how does one eat a rhinoceros? I’d imagine if I needed to eat a hypothetical rhinoceros, I might need a little nudge. That’s what people on the road ahead of us are for, such as, mentors and leaders. They help make clear to us, what they can already see. Don’t fear it. Just do it. Application builds confidence in you and enables others to assist you in your journey.

Let’s get back to the rhinoceros. Yep, I can already hear what you’re thinking. This is the first lesson. Don’t ask yourself why. The mind is a tricky thing. Its designed to protect us. Don’t ask yourself why. Don’t get involved in that. “Why” is for discovering your purpose and that’s a different topic. If you know it needs doing, if you’ve already set it as a goal, then the next step is to dig in.

The way forward is to chunk it down. You wouldn’t swallow a watermelon whole would you? Then why be afraid of a rhinoceros? It’s the same five step process. Chunk the whole, down to smaller projects, then the smaller projects into tasks. However, don’t stop there. this is where many people get caught up. Be more brilliant than that. It’s not hard, it’s only five steps.

Here’s a brief story. I used to have a planner in which I notated all tasks that needed doing. I went further and prioritized them. I rated them as urgent/important etc. But you know what? That’s about as far as it went.  Most days, I would get two, maybe three things done. I didn’t know why. I looked everywhere for answers. I searched inside as I thought, “Aren’t I engaged? Are these not items I’m passionate about? Are these tasks not my strengths?” But here’s the point. I was searching in the wrong place. Once again I was caught in the web of the wrong “why”.

The solution I needed was an outside tip. Not everything is always inside us. This is the value of connecting with people. What I discovered from a friend is what’s called “next action”. What I discovered is the tasks weren’t broken down far enough. I had looked at my planner and subconsciously, I knew they were way too much to handle. It’s a funny thing. If you take tasks down one more step, most often you will find bite size pieces. Next actions are more manageable and not overwhelming.

I liken this to reading which we do so naturally. One doesn’t absorb a whole book at a time do we? No, we read it page by page over time. We read it word by word through understanding the syntax and knowing the letters. If you never learned the letters, you wouldn’t know how to read.

That’s the solution. When looking at doing anything. Find your next action. Now you know how to read a book, (yes this is suggestive) I encourage reading and (Just in case you ever wondered) now you know how to eat a rhinoceros.

Here is a quick recap before you jump up out of your chair and go do it,

  • Ask quality questions to determine issues or aims
  • Once determined, break into projects
  • Break down projects into tasks
  • Break tasks down to each next action

Oh, and there is one more thing after you lay the groundwork. I recommend asking yourself the following question throughout the day to stay on task. It’s the “x” factor and the fifth step. Ask yourself often: “What is the best use of my time, – right this moment”? Once you have it all laid out, it’s easy to answer this question. Now you have the solution! Be brilliant. Go get em!

B. A. Milford


5 thoughts on “How Long Do You Think Before You Act?”

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  2. Greetings! Very useful advice within this post! It’s the little changes that produce the most important changes.

    Many thanks for sharing!

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