You’ve heard of Aesop’s fable of the tortoise and the hare. The hare was faster but cockier and the tortoise won because, as the moral of the story pointed out, slow and steady wins the race. Let’s think about that for a second. Slow and steady. Really? Slow and steady wins the race?! I don’t know what Olympic 100 meter dash Aesop ever watched, but slow and steady never got anyone the gold. But, fast and reckless usually gets you no where quick, so which of the lesser evils is really worth our time? What’s the method here? Fast and reckless or slow and steady?
I don’t necessarily believe in those overnight successes. One day a couple of friends had a great idea for a business and the next day, there in the millions with revenue. Wow, right? Not saying it isn’t possible, just highly improbable. Look at Amazon and how long it took Jeff Bezos to get it where it is today. Yet, working at an even pace, opportunities are going to pass you by because you’re too focused on maintaining speed — “maintaining”, when the core of business is anything but. The tortoise didn’t win the race because he was slow and steady. He won the race because he was persistent. He never deviated off the path. When the hare stopped to shoot the breeze — yeah, I’m paraphrasing here, I know — the tortoise kept going. He never stopped forging ahead. I’m taking the fable and making it more cliché, I know, I know, but go back and re-read the story. Google it online. When did the tortoise ever stop? When did the tortoise ever get side-tracked or goof off?
Better yet — let’s look at this from the hare’s perspective. Yeah, he didn’t win because he knew he could and was kind of showing off. I think he even took a nap while the tortoise was catching up. And as a result, he lost. But that’s not to say he didn’t finish. He got to the end of the race too, just last (you really can’t call is second place if there’s only two participants). He had the speed, the capability and plenty of time. He just didn’t manage them as wisely (how often do some of us do that, HELLO!). I’m gonna keep reiterating this. The tortoise won, but the hare finished. Technically, it can be said that both finished. The prize for winning was just getting there first. But what the’s point of being first? MySpace came before Facebook, yet who’s number one now?
Decide if you’re more like the tortoise or the hare. Some of us know we got the chops to get the job done, we just don’t always discipline ourselves well enough to be ahead of the game. Fair enough, we need better will power, we can admit to that. While the rest of us are path-driven. We know where we’re supposed to be and where we need to end up. That’s all that matters. And as long as we focus on staying the course, we’ll get to where we wanted to be. It’s a bit of a tunnel vision problem. But, then what? We’re first. Doesn’t mean we’re the best or that we even matter? We’re just first.
So, again, are you the tortoise or are you the hare?