Summary of The Ant and the Elephant

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The Ant and the Elephant book summary

Editorial Rating

8

Qualities

  • Innovative
  • Applicable

Recommendation

Former Olympian Vince Poscente’s entertaining short parable works with the metaphors of a determined little ant as your conscious mind and a habit-driven elephant as your subconscious mind. You make hundreds of small decisions daily, mostly without thinking, because your subconscious runs your life. Yet these accumulated choices put most people on safe, predictable, boring paths of mediocrity. When you see glimpses of what you could become, heed those insights. Don’t revert to your old ways just because change is hard and progress may be slow. With the right mind-set and determination – think of an ant’s diligence – you can overcome inertia and break through. Turn to Poscente’s five-step action plan, based on “clear vision, commitment, consistency, confidence and control.” Align your conscious goals with those of your subconscious so the ant rules the elephant. Convince your inner, more conservative self that your goal is not only possible, but also inevitable. getAbstract recommends this accessible, heartwarming story to anyone seeking to reduce fear, alter old habits and change for the better.

About the Author

Vince Poscente, a former ski racer, made it to the gold-medal round at the 1992 Olympics. A frequent public speaker and CEO of The Goal Acceleration Institute, he also wrote InVINCEable Principles and The Age of Speed: Learning to Thrive in a More-Faster-Now World.

Summary

“The Ant and the Elephant”

A powerful storm blows Adir the ant far from his colony. He fears he will never see his friends again and wonders where he is. A churlish crow visits Adir when he is in the depths of despair, eats the ant’s hard-earned food, tells him about an oasis and flies away, refusing to say where this haven might be.

Elgo, a young elephant, wanders the savannah after leaving his parents. Drought parches the land, so each elephant wanders alone as all the animals compete for water and food. Elgo knows about an oasis and dreams of getting there, but he follows the familiar patterns of migration and behavior that informed his ancestors for centuries. Elgo can’t break out of his rut; he barely recognizes that he’s in one.

The Conscious and the Subconscious

The ant represents your conscious mind and the elephant symbolizes your subconscious mind. Comparing the elephant to the ant depicts the enormous difference between the power and size of your subconscious versus your conscious mind. As the story unfolds, the ant gradually takes charge of the elephant and leads him to the oasis – just as your conscious mind can control your subconscious...


Comment on this summary

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    S. M. 7 years ago
    I really like the part regarding looking for all the objections and having a preset response to it. 
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    Y. J. 7 years ago
    Sounds like a very interesting book
  • Avatar
    R. S. 7 years ago
    Loved the statement - "commit to the commitment" and I can vouch for the power of connecting emotions to the final goal.

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