The Tortoise and The Hare has been passed down from generation to generation and has been read countless times as a moral story to teach children (and adults!) the message that slow and steady wins the race. For those of you that do not remember it, here is the recounting of the tale:
There once was a speedy hare who bragged about how fast he could run. Tired of hearing him boast, Slow and Steady, the tortoise, challenged him to a race. All the animals in the forest gathered to watch.
Hare ran down the road for a while and then paused to rest. He looked back at Slow and Steady and cried out, “How do you expect to win this race when you are walking along at your slow, slow pace?”
Hare stretched himself out alongside the road and fell asleep, thinking, “There is plenty of time to relax.”
Slow and Steady walked and walked. He never, ever stopped until he came to the finish line.
The animals who were watching cheered so loudly for Tortoise, they woke up Hare.
Hare stretched and yawned and began to run again, but it was too late. Tortoise was over the line.
After that, Hare always reminded himself, “Don’t brag about your lightning pace, for Slow and Steady won the race!”
Of course, one can interpret this story in different ways, but the most popular consensus is that the tortoise won the race because it took it’s time without giving in to the impulses and taunts of the hare, and eventually beat the hare with it’s slow and steady pace. And this is the one that I will take on as a basis.
Ever since the Industrial Revolution, we’ve had exponential growth in everything. Goods that had once been painstakingly crafted by hand started to be produced in mass quantities by machines in factories, thanks to the introduction of new machines and techniques in textiles, iron making and other industries.
This eventually led to the Technological Revolution which wasa phase of rapid scientific discovery, standardization, mass production, and industrialization. After this was the Digital Revolution, which was characterized by the spread of automation and digitization through the use of electronics and computers, the invention of the Internet, and the discovery of nuclear energy.
All this eventually created a fast-paced, fast-growth mindset as well. We became obsessed with the now culture craving for immediate results and instant gratification. We are bombarded with marketing tools and products that scream instant and immediate; fast-food, 10-minute grocery shopping deliveries, 30-minture photo processing, same-day delivery, emails and messages that are delivered anywhere in the world at the blink of an eye. If it takes more than 10 seconds to load Google we’re groping the computer screen, if we’re forced to wait for our meal at McDonalds we’re steaming, if the ads that come on during our favourite programme are too long, we skip them, and if we feel like we aren’t getting what we want; we complain. Generally speaking, this has manifested into the idea that people have been promised goods with little effort.
I have seen it in my children as well. The absurdity yet logical rationale for asking as to why a bed (yes, a bed!) cannot be delivered the very same day. These things have made us expect instant results to the point that when we don’t get them, we get discouraged and immediately quit.
The mindset of the tortoise is the opposite of the hare. It’s all about, slow and steady wins the race. However, what do these words truly mean and how do they define this particular mindset.
The tortoise although slow, still made progress little by little until he not only passed the hare, but he crossed the finish line first. Progress is the combination of slow, small and steady steps repeated time and time again. It is the process of gradually improving or getting nearer to achieving or completing something.
The idea here is that progress is still progress, no matter how slow you are going. And if you are going slow, then small, achievable steps that are taken all add up to take you to the goal that you have your end sight on. Achieving commendable goals takes disciplined, consistent effort over a long period of time.
To illustrate this better, I want to share with you one of my favorite quotes regarding the story about the stonecutter, which shows you exactly what I describe above:
“When nothing seems to help, I go back and look at the stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow, it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it – but all that had gone before.”
This epitomisez the effort and results that a slow and steady mindset achieves. The stonecutter set up the stone to split in two with 100 blows which paved the way to the actual splitting on the 101st blow. However, it wasn’t the last blow that split the rock, but it was the ones before it that primed the rock to split. He took small achievable steps to ready the stone to split at the 101st blow. Generally, for the most part, the results we’re looking for will rarely come quickly. But they won’t take that long, either. And this is what the stonecutter story tries to teach us.
Focus your attention on the smallest steps of progress. Be sure that you like what you do and concentrate on the process – not the results. Small steps allow us to build confidence in ourselves and our ability to accomplish our goals. And with each small success and increase in confidence, we will have more motivation to continue challenging ourselves.
That’s how the tortoise actually won.
Want to Learn More?
If you enjoyed this article, go and check out my book: SLOW Life Diet – Greek Village Living: The Pathway to a Healthier Lifestyle, Healthy Habits, and a Happier You.
It provides a detailed explanation of this slow living lifestyle and provides a guide to help you on your journey in adopting the habits and lifestyle into your own life.
The knowledge of the Ancient Greeks had been passed down from generation to generation until their eating rituals and habits became part of the societal norm in Greece. These can be seen more so in the Greek villages as these villages have many similarities as how Ancient Greeks city-states were formed and how the people lived. They lived off the land and ate what the land provided. As a result, their nutrition was very healthy. As time progressed, the nutritional habits merged with the way of life which slowed down and started to focus on self and societal care. And finally, now, through this book about Greek village living, the secrets of this knowledge on nutritional and lifestyle habits that have been passed down and now practiced everyday are revealed.