Do you remember the story of the Tortoise and the Hare? One fast and self-assured, the other slow and steady. They set out to have a race and in the beginning, it was the hare that easily bounded ahead of the tortoise and almost made the finish line before the tortoise managed to go very far at all. Yet, the self-assured hare was just a little too self-assured and he decided to sleep before crossing the finishing line and he slept so long and so soundly, that the tortoise eventually crossed the finish line while he was still sleeping. Against all the odds, the tortoise had won the race.
Why did the tortoise win the race? We are often told that “slow and steady wins the race” and there is truth in that. What is interesting about this story is that both the tortoise and the hare were using their natural talents and they used them to the best of their ability. From the point of view of Personal Development maybe we should take a closer look and see what happened in this story.
The tortoise, while not fast entered the race with the best of intentions. He knew he probably would not win, but that didn’t stop him participating. No doubt, he went full speed and put his heart and soul in the endeavor. He didn’t just set out on a walk in the park on a sunny day. He full utilized all his abilities and, in the end, it paid off and he won. No one was more surprised than he, to find he crossed the finish line first.
The hare likewise used all his abilities, and should have won the race, but he didn’t. He had yet to learn the value of not having too much faith in his own abilities. He became so self-assured that he became arrogant, that caused his downfall, and his ability to win what should have been the easiest of races.
When we compare ourselves to the tortoise and the hare, we can learn some important life lessons that may help us in our endeavors. The tortoise did what he did best, to the best of his ability. He did not let circumstances overwhelm him, but instead he did what was asked of him and he eventually found success. The hare likewise did his best, but he let the circumstances get the better of him and they did overwhelm him and he rested on his laurels rather than continuing to the finish line and he found failure.
It is worth asking if in our endeavors we find our successes by having the attitude of the tortoise, or are more like the hare, and rely on our reputation and this explains our failure to succeed.