We all want to make it Big in life. Maybe you want to become a CXO, scale up your venture (like I
want to), or achieve financial independence. In spite of that, most of us, hit the glass ceiling for
achievement by chasing ‘mice’ instead of ‘antelope’
US politician Newt Gingrich once told the fable of the lion, mouse and the antelope.
“A lion is fully capable of capturing, killing, and eating a field mouse. But it turns out that the energy
required to do so exceeds the caloric content of the mouse itself. So a lion that spent its day hunting
and eating field mice would slowly starve to death. A lion can’t live on field mice.
A lion needs antelope. Antelope are big animals. They take more speed and strength to capture and
kill, and once killed, they provide a feast for the lion and her pride.
So ask yourself at the end of the day, ‘Did I spend today chasing mice or hunting antelope?’”
Antelopes are difficult to hunt. However, once this task is complete, they provide an energy rich
meal for the lion and his pride – allowing them to grow and plan the next hunt. Mice are easy, and
provide the illusion of a small win – but are effectively killing the lion.
In reality, the lion is us. It could be our career, venture, net worth. This ‘lion’ requires calories in
order to survive and thrive. You can view calories as revenue, achievements or meaningful progress.
Without these ‘calories’, our lion can’t survive.
For every antelope the lion catches, it needs to catch dozens of mice to get the same amount of
I will give an analogy from our recruitment business.
In 2019, we helped a manufacturing company hire their Head-Treasury. Of course, it was super
tough to attract someone within the desired specs. But then, finally when we did, at 12.5% of the
Billable CTC, we struck gold. Maybe only once or twice a year. But indeed worth the effort.
In comparison, so often we ended taking dozen mandates, the so called ‘low-hanging fruits’ for
helping companies hire CA Industrial Trainees. It was more as a ‘foot-in-the-door’ strategy. However,
as we later realised, most clients smartly used CAJobPortal.com only for CA Industrial Trainees and
used their preferred vendors for hiring Laterals.
In the CA Industrial Trainee, all the drama of a lateral hire unfolded – not enough willing candidates
of desired pedigree, CVs being screen reject for arbitrary reasons, candidate not turning up on
interview date, delays in offer rollouts, candidate backing out of the process before joining. Facing all
the ire of the HR for just 15k for a candidate joining.
Time to ask yourself. What keeps you busy? Apply the 80: 20 Pareto Rule (80% of results will come
from just 20 % of the action)
If we play it small, we chase mice — low-value tasks, mediocre projects, and cheap customers.
If we play it big, we chase antelope — important tasks, valuable projects, and high-paying
In other words, you’re better off working on just 1–3 highly important tasks than crushing ourselves
to death through 30 low/mid-value tasks in a day.
Just as lions realise that weren’t granted all that power just to feed on mice, individuals and
organisations need to realise that they must focus only on the highest goals and not end up frittering
So, what 20% of your work drives 80% of your outcomes?
Let’s focus on the big wins and let each of our team members stretch every muscle for that.