The Tortoise and The Hare Story

Life, Personal Development Add comments


Once upon a time, a tortoise and a hare had an argument on who is the fastest runner. They agreed on a route to start a race to settle on the disagreement.

And as you all know, the tortoise won the race. 

Let’s refresh a little, shall we?

The hare was far ahead of the tortoise and figured out that he take some time to relax under a tree before continuing the race. The hare fell asleep.

The tortoise moved on, overtook him and soon finished the race and emerged as the champ! The hare woke up and realized that he had lost the race.

This is the version of the story we all grown up with, slow and steady wins the race.

The story continues…

Part 2 :

The hare was disappointed and he did some soul-searching and realized he was overconfident and careless. If he had not taken things for granted, there’s no way the tortoise could have beaten him.

So he is taking a revenge and challenged the tortoise to another race. The tortoise agreed.

This time, the hare went all out, not giving any chances to his opponent and ran without stopping from start to finish. He won by several miles.

The moral of the story is – Fast and Consistent will always beat the Slow and Steady. In any organization, one is slow and reliable person and the other is fast and also reliable, the latter will consistently climb the organization ladder faster than the slow chap. It’s good to be slow and steady, but it’s better to be fast and reliable.

But the story doesn’t end here…

Part 3 :

The tortoise did some thinking this time, asking himself “How can I win the hare?” and he was aware that there’s no way he can beat the hare in a race the way it was currently formatted.

The tortoise thought for a while and challenged the hare for another race, but on a different route and the hare agreed, with full of confidence.

So off they went! The hare, still hold on to his commitment to be consistently fast,  ran at top speed until he came to a broad river. He stopped. The finishing line is a couple of kilometers on the other side of the river. He was wondering what to do.

The tortoise came along, got into the river and swam across. He continued walking and finished the race.

The moral of the story – First identify your core competency and then change the playing field to suit your core competency. Working on your strengths will create opportunities for growth and advancement.

Please hold on, The story still hasn’t ended…

Part 4 :

The hare and the tortoise, by this time had become good friends and they did some thinking together. The last race could have been run much better.

So they decided to do the last race again, but to run as a team this time and break the fastest time record. They help each other.

They started off, and this time the hare carried the tortoise till the riverbank.

There, the tortoise took over and swam across with the hare on his back.

On the opposite bank, the hare again carried the tortoise and they reached the finishing line together.

They both felt a greater sense of satisfaction than they had felt earlier.

The moral of the story – It’s good to be individually brilliant and to have strong core competencies. But unless you’re able to work as a team and harness each others core competencies, you’ll always perform below par because there will always be situations at which you’ll do poorly and someone else does well.

Teamwork is mainly about situational leadership letting the person with the relevant core competency for a situation take leadership.

Other lessons to be learnt :

Note that both the hare and the tortoise never give up after failures. The hare decided to work harder and put in extra effort after his failure. The tortoise changed his strategy because he was already working as hard as he could.

In life, when faced with failure, sometimes it is appropriate to work harder and put in more effort. Sometimes it is appropriate to change strategy and try something different. And sometimes it is appropriate to do both.

The hare and the tortoise also learnt another vital lesson. When we stop competing against a rival and instead start competing against the situation, we perform far better.

Everyone have their own strengths and weaknesses. Let’s combine and perform as a team.

My strengths may be your weaknesses, But your strengths may be my weaknesses.



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Authored by kevinn on 4th April 2010

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