The Buffalo and the Elephant

“… it’s a cycle of four thousand six hundred and forty-seven kilometers”, the words lingered in the air as I tried to get my head around the number. That was five months ago when I met a friend Warrick for a coffee and he told me about his cycle trip from Johannesburg to Kilimanjaro, to raise money for Qhubeka, and I accepted his invitation to join him.

The distance and the time that it was going to take, seven weeks of riding and seven days to summit the mountain, were inconceivable at the time. Then, as things do, leaving day arrived and we started our journey. As I sit here, typing this, we have just over a week until the cycle leg of this journey is over. The time has flown by and this huge challenge almost completed.

How is it possible that something that seemed so large was, almost painlessly, achieved? Small amounts of consistent effort. We have woken up every single day for the last 65 days and done a small amount of work. Each day moving one small step closer to the end goal. Some days it seemed simple, and some days it was a real struggle and hard going, but we moved a little closer to our goal each day.

This pretty simple concept made me think about how this can be applied to my life. I have things that I “really” want to achieve, yet somehow these things often get put on the back burner when I get busy, or I run out of time. How important is this goal if I prioritize other things over it, or fail to make time for it each day. Cycling with a team, on a schedule, we don’t have the option to skip a day because “we’re too busy”. We push on. A little further each day.

If I look at some of the things that I want from my life, I’d have ticked almost all of them off if I had spent a little time working on them each day since the 20th of May when I decided to take this trip.

“What’s the best way to eat an elephant?” (actually … I don’t think that we should be eating elephants, they’re great and majestic creatures with a very complex social system, and eating one would upset this balance and is just wrong)
Answer: One bite at a time.

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