Slow and steady is not always the best choice
Was it only me or did other people also have a problem with Aesop’s story of the hare and the tortoise? The story was drummed into our heads from kindergarten, but I could never understand why!
The gist of the story is that there once was a speedy hare who would brag about how fast he could run. Tired of hearing him boast, a tortoise challenged him to a race. So, with all the forest animals watching it was “ready, steady, go!” and the hare sped off like lightning. However, after running down the road for a while he looked back at the tortoise and wondered why he was exerting himself. The hare then confidently stretched himself out alongside the road and tauntingly jeered as he watched the tortoise plod along. This must have been pretty boring viewing, because Mr Hare soon fell asleep.
The tortoise, however, never stopped until he came to the finish line, and just as he was about to cross the line, the cheers of the animals woke the hare who ran as fast as he had ever run, but to no avail – the tortoise had already crossed the finish line.
The moral of the story, we were told, is that slow and steady wins the race.
My problem with this whole episode was that though our teachers and parents told us that slow and steady wins the race, we were children and we had energy to burn.
To sit and go along at a slow and steady pace was absolute torture! I would much rather have preferred to rush through my work and then enjoy a long rest, or go and play with my friends I was hare material.
However, the conditioning that we were subjected to eventually paid off and the hare in me faded (during the same time that my hairline receded) soon I was a slow and steady tortoise (hairstyle and all) becoming slow, diligent, methodical and meticulous.
These days I will start doing something and get so absorbed that I will often forget to look up and give my eyes a break. I will move from my desk only when my bladder is so full that my breathing starts to sound like gargling the tortoise that I have become will always just want to do that “one last thing” before getting up to take a break. However, the “one last thing” turns into two, three, several things; and before you know it, hours have passed.
I was delighted to find that my tortoise qualities have qualified me for exclusive membership to the “Coronary and Ulcer Club”. This club lists the following simple rules for membership:
Your job comes first. Everything else is a distant second.
Weekends and holidays are ideal to be working at the office. There will be nobody else there to bother you.
Always have your smartphone with you when not at your desk. This provides an opportunity to review completely all the troubles and worries of the day.
Never say “no” to a request. Always say “yes.”
Accept all invitations to meetings, banquets, committees and gatherings.
Remember that all forms of recreation are a waste of time.
Never delegate responsibility to others; carry the entire load yourself.
No matter how many jobs you are already doing, remember you always can take on more.
Moral of this story: Too much “slow and steady” without a “hare break” could result in great loss.