Time to Eat the Elephant…

I wish to apologize in advance to all of the elephants of the world. No elephants were harmed in the telling of this story, or the development of this theme and image.

A long, long time ago…more years ago than I actually care to remember, I met my friend, brother, coach, mentor and Sensei, Chuck Martin. Over the years, I’ve spent countless hours, in person, on the phone, and via e-mail, training, brainstorming, problem solving and planning…all with the focus on our shared passions of officer safety and law enforcement excellence. In that time, he’s gifted me with many lessons. However, of all of them, my favorite is the regional colloquial phrase, “I want y’all to fight like you’re the third monkey trying to get onto Noah’s Ark.”


Since the first time I heard him mutter that phrase in his thick Georgia drawl, I’ve made it a personal mantra. I’ve worn a MilSpecMonkey morale patch as my personal identifier and described it as my “3rd Monkey.” In my role as a trainer, I sometimes describe the various training entities that I amassociated with as being aligned within the fictional Third Monkey Training Group.

The 3rd Monkey might be my spirit animal.

In more recent years, I have read and re-read “No Easy Day: The Autobiography of a Navy SEAL,” by Mark Owen (No Easy Day by Mark Owen). The book is memorable for many reasons, but apart from the description of perhaps the most famous raid in the history of Special Operations, one of the parts that stuck with me was the author’s description of how he segmented the stresses and rigors of his SEAL training, and later, operations. “Just get to lunch,” he would tell himself. He references the saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

Just get to lunch….

Most recently, I have undertaken a practice of reflection, assessment, and recollection as part of a personal development process. As I sat down to begin putting thoughts to paper, the above two images converged in my mind. I found myself asking, “How would the 3rd Monkey eat the elephant?”

I knew the answer. He would embrace a DEFAULT AGGRESSIVE attitude, GET AFTER IT, and dig in…..One Bite At A Time. The answer was obvious, but it wasn’t enough. What I wanted was an image…a physical manifestation of this situation that I could look at, share, refer to….a picture of my new mantra.

So, I did what I always do when I have an art project….I called my brother, Aka Jin, of MediaCrash. I explained what had been on my mind and what I was looking for. He understood completely. He asked for the Mil-Spec Monkey and got to work. A little more than 2 weeks later, I got this. I think it’s perfect. It represents my thoughts perfectly.

MonkeyFinal_WebSmall Watermarked

And now…..It’s Time to Eat the Elephant…..One Bite At a Time.

Jocko Willink #GetAfterIt #DefaultAggressive #TTETE #OBAT