Eat that frog! – I don’t care if you’re a vegetarian!
Yes, you have to do it, it doesn’t matter how averse you feel towards it, there is no question of you “considering it”, there won’t be any side dishes or embellishments whatsoever, you won’t be given time till evening or the next day. You’ve got to do it and do it right now.
If I have disgusted you enough, I have achieved my intent for the day! If I didn’t, you know what I meant by it. Take a bow!
Now, let’s get to the business at hand. For the uninitiated, Eat the frog is an idiom used by Mark Twain and a book written by Brian Tracy. What’s with their likeness to frogs? Frogs are these slimy little creatures who are always hopping around and won’t get caught no matter what. But, even if they themselves jumped on you (which they won’t, because the feeling is mutual), you always shudder, yelp, push them away and make a run, pretty much in that order.
Right. What’s still with their likeness to frogs? Its not actually the frogs per se, but the effect they have on you. If you observe your behaviour carefully, there is something else that is eliciting exactly the same series of reactions from you; shudder-yelp-push away-make a run. But, unlike a frog, it doesn’t hop away when you do them. Instead, it clings to you even tighter while its slime makes you cringe. What could such a revolting thing be?
When you wake up in the morning and start getting your bearings, you realise that there are one or two cringe-worthy tasks of the day, staring you in the face, almost daring you to go anywhere near them. They could be either physically hideous, like the pile of dirty laundry accumulated over a week, unkempt front yard or the seemingly easy ones but have acquired monstrous proportions in your mind, like making obligatory phone calls to your (not so) dear ones or making a choice between healthy and tasty food!
The moment you look at them or think of them, your first instinct is to shudder-yelp-push away-make a run in quick succession either physically or in your mind and thereby postpone doing it. Till when? No idea. Soon enough, but not now. You just can’t bear to look at them now. So, you turn towards the important ones, thinking wishfully that when you are not looking at them, someone else will do them off or they will just melt away. But, they are not going anywhere. They are going to occupy more and more of your physical and mental space and hang like a sword over your head until there is no space left for anything else. You are going to be buried beneath them unless you do away with them.
What will you do now? You take a deep breath and finally decide to finish them in combat style, complete the work and tick them off your to-do list. A wise move. But, wouldn’t it be wiser if you did it before it got big and piled up? You’d spare yourself all the stress. That’s exactly what Mark Twain and Brian Tracy mean by asking you to eat the frog first thing in the morning.
So, this is how you are going to eat the proverbial frog everyday: Make a list of all the tasks you have to do in that day, go through it, choose the one you loathe (that’s your frog!) and finish it off before taking up the rest. “I can do the laundry any time of the day but have to attend a meeting at its scheduled time”. “No silly, you will wake up early, do the laundry and then attend your meeting whenever it is scheduled”. “What if there are two loathsome tasks in a day?” “Do the yuckiest of them first.”
Okay. You finally made up your mind and ate the frog today. You will realise that it has freed your mind to such an extent that you can now fill it up with anything and everything that interest you, that you actually enjoy doing. You feel as though you are already done with the hardest part of the day and will breeze through the rest of it.
I remember attending the discourses of a scholar with my parents when I was young. While explaining a similar concept, he told the audience that when he was young, he had to stay with his uncle’s family for a couple of months. On his first day with them, he was served bitter guard curry for dinner along with other dishes. The curry was so acrid that it made his mouth feel pinched with disgust. But he could not refuse it and dare to face the wrath of his aunt. So, he decided to get it over with first and then enjoy the rest of the meal peacefully. But his aunt saw him polishing off the curry and thought it was his favourite food. So, she prepared it the next day as well, thinking he’d feel loved and the helpless boy gobbled it up again before going for others. This went on for a week and the boy then acquired a taste for bitter gourd and actually started liking it. Its regular consumption benefited his health. Now, at sixty, he said he could devour it raw just like the rest of us lesser mortals eat our cucumbers and carrots.
So, the point is, when you take actions instead of procrastinating, it will lessen your burden to a great extent, free up your mind space to take up other work, bring about a discipline in your life and help manage your time effectively. So, eat that frog today and everyday and enjoy its benefits! Bon appétit!
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