We’ve grown up on an emotionally healthy diet of fables that’s ingrained with timeless wisdom.
One such wise fable is that of the Tortoise and the Hare.
Who hasn’t escaped this gem of a story? Yet, many of us, including me, have lost the plot like the hare in this frenetic modern-day hustle culture. We’re never ever satisfied with what we have, and are constantly losing sleep over the next achievement. Worse still, we overburden our children with our overachievement expectations from them. I hope we can break this unhealthy cycle of intergenerational trauma once and for all.
To my horror, I discovered how one guy gave his spin on the ‘Tortoise and the Hare’ story. He negated the ‘Slow and Steady’ approach, adding that if the rabbit didn’t stop, he’d have easily won the race. So, his moral of the story was to never stop until you focus and persevere until you reach your destination.
Both the tortoise or the hare weren’t entirely right or wrong in their approach.
The good thing about both the tortoise and hare was that they were both focused and determined to reach their goals. We can surely learn focus and determination from both the tortoise and the hare.
Specifically, we can learn consistency from the tortoise. How going slow but staying steady on course will help you eventually win the race of life.
We can learn to take a break or rest from the hare, which is equally important, no matter how crucial a task is. Life is not a competition.
Adopting a middle-path approach of consistency and restful breaks is the key to sustainable success.
So, what does that look like in a daily routine?
A middle-path approach in your daily life would be to break up work into smaller bits and work on them slowly and steadily, with focus like the tortoise. No rush.
Then, take a break like the hare which could be a power nap of 20-30 minutes or going for an easy stroll or meditating for a few minutes, or reading a book of your choice or even sipping on your chai or coffee, or doing some simple stretches to move and relax your body.
Then, go back to work with undivided focus and determination. You could choose to work fast like the hare or slow like the tortoise, depending on your personality and complexity and urgency of work.
It’s important not to go overboard like the hare and burn yourself out too soon. Which is why prioritise restful breaks and sleep so you don’t burn yourself out.
It’s also important not to have an “All work, and no play makes Jack or Jill a dull person” approach, like the tortoise and miss out on the pleasures of life by smelling the roses on the pathway.
I understand the story is about a race or competition. Taking such liberties during a competition is not practical. However, you can still apply the middle-ground approach in your preparation for any competition. For sure!
The Good Lesson
In the grander picture of things, we need to ditch the idea of looking at life through a competitive lens. That’s where the trouble starts and it won’t end until we take reins and rewire our thinking for a happier, sustainable, and productive living.
Which is why I love the other modern-day version of “The Tortoise and Hare” story, which rethinks the race from a competitive lens. In this version, the tortoise and hare decide to team up and utilise each other’s strengths to win the competition. The emphasis is on collaboration over competition.
This is a way healthier approach to living. It respects one another’s talents, strengths, and builds a sense of community and wellbeing.
*This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon 2023