How Do You Eat An Elephant? Around-The-Campfire Stories – RV Life

Mike always gives our girls a wise bit of advice when they are about to start a daunting project, take a big test, get a certification, make a life change, etc.  He simply asks them, “How do you eat an elephant?”

The girls usually roll their eyes and moan, “Ugh, I already know.  One bite at a time.”

It’s good advice, for sure.  I’ve even recited the phrase to myself at different times.

Recently, Mike and I were talking to a remarkable young woman who had successfully planned and executed a huge social gathering.  She’d worked incredibly hard on a volunteer basis and voiced trepidation at planning an annual sequel.

“It’s a huge undertaking,” she said.

Mike was trying to be supportive by giving his best advice.  “It is a big undertaking.  But you did an amazing job on this one.  Just take it one step at a time.  How do you eat an elephant?”

A look of pure horror crossed her beautiful face.  Her indignant reply,  “I don’t eat elephants, I’m vegan!”

For once, my husband was speechless.

What would have been more appropriate?  How do you eat a rutabaga?


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P.S.  I tried to find the original author of this wise saying, but could not find a reliable source.  If you have trustworthy knowledge, will you please share so I can give due credit?


  1. I can just imagine the eye roll from the girls, but it is a great point of view. I’ll have to remember it when I’m faced with something I think is going to be monumental. There should be more vegans in the world – more steak for me! Hahahaha

  2. Ha ha, I love it! I would love to have seen your husband’s face…. I don’t know where the saying originated, but I do know I heard Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics say it often. I use that phrase a lot myself, but I must say, I’ve never gotten the reaction your hubby got from that young lady.😁

  3. Oh, my goodness, I love this story. It reminds me of the time my husband and children went to the Minnesota State Fair. (I stayed home; no thanks to those oppressive crowds). The then grade school aged son was horrified to see a food vendor selling elephant ears. Not real, of course, but he thought so. Rather, these were flat elephant ear shaped pastries loaded with cinnamon and sugar. We still laugh at his misinterpretation.

    Here’s a story I posted about it:

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