The story of the Tortoise and the Hare is one of Aesop’s Fables, and it goes like this
Once upon a time there was a hare who, boasting how he could run faster than anyone else, was forever teasing tortoise for its slowness. Then one day, the irate tortoise answered back: “Who do you think you are? There’s no denying you’re swift, but even you can be beaten!” The hare squealed with laughter.
“Beaten in a race? By whom? Not you, surely! I bet there’s nobody in the world that can win against me, I’m so speedy. Now, why don’t you try?”
Annoyed by such bragging, the tortoise accepted the challenge. A course was planned, and the next day at dawn they stood at the starting line. The hare yawned sleepily as the meek tortoise trudged slowly off. When the hare saw how painfully slow his rival was, he decided, half asleep on his feet, to have a quick nap. “Take your time!” he said. “I’ll have forty winks and catch up with you in a minute.”
The hare woke with a start from a fitful sleep and gazed round, looking for the tortoise. But the creature was only a short distance away, having barely covered a third of the course. Breathing a sigh of relief, the hare decided he might as well have breakfast too, and off he went to munch some cabbages he had noticed in a nearby field. But the heavy meal and the hot sun made his eyelids droop.
With a careless glance at the tortoise, now halfway along the course, he decided to have another snooze before flashing past the winning post. And smiling at the thought of the look on the tortoise’s face when it saw the hare speed by, he fell fast asleep and was soon snoring happily. The sun started to sink, below the horizon, and the tortoise, who had been plodding towards the winning post since morning, was scarcely a yard from the finish. At that very point, the hare woke with a jolt.
He could see the tortoise a speck in the distance and away he dashed. He leapt and bounded at a great rate, his tongue lolling, and gasping for breath. Just a little more and he’d be first at the finish. But the hare’s last leap was just too late, for the tortoise had beaten him to the winning post. Poor hare! Tired and in disgrace, he slumped down beside the tortoise who was silently smiling at him.
“Slowly does it every time!” he said.
In my post You Need More Than Talent To Succeed, I highlight the importance of diligence in reaching for your goals in life. There are many people who are overconfident in their abilities and this overconfidence causes them to be slack in their approach and attitude towards life. If you desire success in life you must learn to be diligent and persistent towards your goals.
This story ought to be an encouragement for people who feel like they are not as talented or ‘specially’ endowed in certain areas of their life. The key is to make the best of what you have. Know your strengths and diligently apply yourself to grow in the ares in which you’re strong at.
No matter how far away the goal is away from you, keep your eyes fixed on the goal, never minding what everyone else is doing. Too often we try to compare ourselves to others, and we let the fear of what others can do cripple our ability to function optimally.
What are your short term goals, and overall where do you see yourself in the future? What strengths do you have currently that are relevant in living your dreams and fulfilling your purpose? What are you doing to improve on and build on these strengths?
Never compete with anyone else but yourself. Keep your eyes on the goal. Continually press forward. A diligent, consistent and persistent pursuit will ultimately get you where you need to be in life. If the tortoise could beat the hare in a race, there’s no telling what you can achieve in life!