Book Title: The Ant And The Elephant
Author: Vince Poscente
Genre: Personal Development
Sub-Topics: Leadership, Self-Help, Philosophy
First Edition: August 2004
Published By: Be Invinceable Group
The Ant and the Elephant is a wonderful allegory which makes it both easy to read and very powerful. Unlike some of the “Think and it Shall Be” junk that exists in the self-help realm, this book provides practical steps for the personal development process. The story follows an ant on the back of an elephant which is a metaphor for the small capacity of the conscious mind as a tiny spec on top of the massive potential of the subconscious.
The correlation is draw from this scientific observation. In one second the conscious mind uses 2 thousand neurons and in the same second the subconscious mind uses 4 billion. The story brings out the scientific fact that even though the ant may think he is in control of his decisions, the reality is that he is on the back of an enormous elephant.
Once the ant realizes this, he resorts to the thought that he has no control and should give up. However with the support and guidance from his mentor (played by an owl fittingly) the ant learns to communicate to his elephant and harness its true potential to reach THEIR goals and dreams. At a little over 100 pages this would be an excellent read for kids. The story keeps it fun but the message is meaningful.
This was a very good book and the only reason it was not a must read or life changer is because based on my personality type I am naturally optimistic and a dreamer. It did not enact a significant change to my outlook as other books have. If you are naturally cynical or are looking to unlock that hidden potential you feel inside, this book may have a more profound effect on you.
However, the core of the allegory, presented in the conscious vs subconscious decision making rational, did represent a major fundamental paradigm shift in the way I am able to articulate to others and myself the innate feeling and results I have seen when I have been able to unleash my elephant.
For me, the book also helps to explain why although we consciously think that advertising or marketing does not work on us, we are constantly shaped and persuaded subconsciously by the powerful effects of long term media. And what we put in, rather we are conscious of it or not, will manifest itself in one way or the other.
A good example of this is to list the top 3 beverages that come to mind when you think of Christmas. If one of them was Coke then you have proven the point. Yes EggNog and Yes hot Coco but why Coke and not Pepsi or Budweiser for that matter. It’s because Coke has spent millions of dollars over decades advertising to us telling us to drink Coke around the holidays. But they don’t actually say it, the tell it by showing pictures of Polar bears drinking it and Santa with his reindeer holding a Coke bottle with Christmas music playing and on and on. They are speaking to the language of the elephant, images and sound.
There are many more examples but getting back to the book, The Ant And The Elephant really goes into details as to how you can communicate to your elephant like the high paid media executives have learned to do. The author also does a wonderful job of summing up the entire message in 5 parts towards the last few pages of the book. It serves as a good memory aid and jogger for the lessons in the book. Here are the 5 with some of my comments around them.
1) Clarify your vision
The key her being that you must zero in on a goal and understand that any destination worthwhile and meaningful will first require a tough journey.
2) Commit to cultivating positive dominant thoughts
On the tough journey you must keep your vision fresh and learn to delay gratification
3) Consistently focus on performance
State the future as a given and use visual cues to help tie in your emotions
4) Strengthen confidence
Head off negative thoughts and doubt at the pass. Remove yourself, forever if need be from situations that will not help you reach your goal
5) Control the response to any situation
Bad stuff happens, learn to handle issues with a winning attitude and prepare yourself in advance if possible
I could go on and on about the core lesson in this book, but better you read and ascertain for yourself. Great quick read and will be a staple on my shelf and a go to on a regular basis.
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