Revisiting the Tortoise and the Hare . . .

Are they still teaching parables in school? I remember having picture books full of parables as a kid.

Today my post theme can be best exemplified by the Tortoise and the Hare parable.

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For those who don’t know – or don’t remember – a tortoise and a hare decide to run a race. The hare, being over-confident (because he’s fast), decides to take a nap along the race route. As the hare is napping the tortoise makes slowly but steady progress. By the time the hare wakes up the tortoise has already passed him and is at the finish line. The hare ends up losing, the tortoise wins!!

The moral of the story is . . . SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE.

In today’s world I don’t think we preach that message much anymore.

“Teeth whitening in three days”!!

“Lose 10 pounds in a week”!!

I don’t think that as a society we’re patient enough for a slow and steady resolution to our goals and problems anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, I do understand that the pace of the world has changed with modern advances. And I’m down for that too but in some ways I think we’d benefit from having more patience. 

Everything can’t happen instantaneously. Not everything should happen quickly.

This week I was reminded of the subtle, delicious pleasure of a slow and steady improvement.

In my case my improvement happened at the gym.

There is an exercise that one of my instructors started doing with us a about four weeks ago. I was feeling a little disheartened because most of the group could do it but I couldn’t. I just wasn’t strong enough in that particular muscle group. (The base exercise itself is doable but she added a little extra part (an add-on) to the move to boost the benefit.)

The first week I tried to do the add-on and couldn’t.

The second week I tried to do the add-on again and failed – but felt a little stronger in the base exercise.

Week three I felt really strong in the base exercise and managed to do the add-on for literally half a second.

This week was my breakthrough!!! I did the add-on for as long as four seconds. Even my instructor noticed! It was a great feeling.

Still have a way to go because the rest of the group is holding the add-on for as long as 10 seconds straight in a repetition of up to three reps . . . but I am slowly building my strength and confidence. One day, maybe in a few weeks from now, I will be strong enough to do the complete add-on.

As a quick aside. This is not about competing with the group at the gym. This is about me learning new things and challenging myself to be my personal best.

So, a simple exercise in the gym, that I hadn’t paid much attention to, that I wasn’t beating myself up about not being strong enough to do, reminded me of a valuable lesson.

Slow and steady often does win the race – even in today’s world. 

Because I was committed (going to the gym regularly) . . . because I was willing to try (even though I’d failed the other times I’d tried), I “won the race”.

And what perfect timing to be reminded of this story and it’s powerful message. 

I am working on my foundation as a writer.

I am raising money towards my goals.

I am building a multidimensional platform to pursue public speaking, advocacy and consulting.

None of those things are going to happen instantaneously.

It is going to be my commitment to slow and steady progress that will build the foundation towards my ultimate, bigger-picture successes.

I’m heaving a sigh of relief ovah here.

The pressure is still on to be timely and on top of the day-to-day things I can do to create my momentum but I can be kind to myself by not demanding (or expecting) things happen overnight.

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