Winning At Life By Learning From The Tortoise

Winning At Life By Learning From The Tortoise

It’s a fable that everyone learns in grade school, but our current society hasn’t taken the lesson to heart: slow and steady wins the race. In our overstimulated, multi-tasking, hyper-competitive culture, working methodically and slowly and setting aside time for personal health is not a strategy that very many people are adopting.

If you’ll recall, the stoic tortoise wins the race by being consistent, without boasting or getting rattled at any point. If the tortoise is a Zen Buddhist, the hare is a wired Wall Street investor zig-zagging all over the place and blowing a lot of hot air.

While most people have not yet learned the lesson that it is better to work smart than to work hard, some pockets of corporate America have begun to understand the way of the tortoise.

Meditation rooms have been set up in a number of successful companies to allow employees to rest their Internet addled minds and take twenty minutes to let their brains settle and restart.

It’s a well-established fact that creativity and productivity are promoted by a flurry of focused brain activity, followed by a period of relaxing the mind, allowing it to solve problems in the background.

For this reason, companies who are reliant on talented millennials are often allowed to work from home, take extra vacation and play ping pong and video games at work.

The archaic paradigm suggested that you had to bust your ass continuously from morning to night, but a more enlightened take suggests that this attitude staunches creative problem solving and creates a hostile, high tension work environment.

Whatever you’re pursuing, whether it’s an artistic vocation or a comprehensive PR campaign, applying your undivided attention for a few hours and then putting the project aside for a little while is the surest way forward.

If you become obsessed with the project, you’ll lose sleep and become inefficient, and your brain won’t have the requisite energy to troubleshoot in the background.

With all this in mind, it’s clear to see that the best way to accomplish anything is to be consistent, chip away at it over a long period of time and take time for self-care and general health. This attitude can be applied to things you want to accomplish outside of your chosen career.

If you want to learn the guitar, for example, setting aside twenty minutes a day and staying consistent over a long period of time will turn you into a strong musician. If you practice three hours a day, once a month, you won’t accomplish that same goal.

If you are pursuing a musical hobby on the side, you could even rent a musical instrument rather than impulsively buying something, and put in your time every day for two or three months. If you’re unhappy with the experience after that, just take it back! No big loss.

A more impulsive might buy an expensive Gibson guitar outright, play it obsessively for a week, and then toss it in the closet and forget about it.  

So whether you’re trying to learn a new language, get ahead at work, or set realistic fitness goals, just remember, consistency is more important than intensity, long live the tortoise!

Editorial Team
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