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Are You a Tortoise or a Hare


The Tortoise and the Hare
One of Aesop’s Fables

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.


What does this fable mean to you? Was the hare cocky? Did the hare over estimate his abilities? Did the hare make bad choices? Did the hare underestimate the tortoise? Did the hare not give it his best shot?


Is the fable saying that with persistence you will reach your goal? Is the fable saying you will beat your opponent even if it looks like you can’t?


I think it is saying all of these things. Yes the hare was cocky. So cocky he thought he had a sure win. So cocky he put in little effort. So cocky he got sidetracked. Has this ever happened to you? You were so sure something was easy and a sure thing that you did not put in the effort. You may have even made some bad choices around this event. Perhaps you misjudged your opponent or the circumstances. Being confident is one thing but being cocky can be a detriment.


In business being self assured can help you make good decisions. Being cocky can cause you to loose out.


What about the tortoise? He certainly was confident because he challenged the hare. Was the tortoise an observer? Did he wisely size up his competition? The tortoise knew that if he kept going he would reach the finish line. If you keep going eventually you will get to your goal. But you have to stick with it. You have to stick with it even if it looks like a big, difficult job. You also need to understand and know your competitor. If you know your competitor is a “show off” that means they will probably make a mistake. That means if you keep on going and do what is necessary to get the job done you will not only get the job done but succeed.


So are you a tortoise or a hare? Can you adjust who you are and make choices that will reinforce your best attributes instead of sabotaging them?


Today there are no answers. Just some questions and things for you to consider about yourself. Reviewing and understanding who you are and what makes you tick will help you get to where you want to go. Then you have to keep going or you won’t get there.


Marcia, Your Confidence Coach




March 20, 2007 - Posted by | confidence, success

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