The famous race of the Rabbit and the Tortoise -
Once upon a time a tortoise and a hare had an argument about who was
They decided to settle the argument with a race. They agreed on a route
and started off the race.
The hare shot ahead and ran briskly for some time.
Then seeing that he was far ahead of the tortoise, he thought he'd sit under
a tree for some time and relax before continuing the race. He sat under
the tree and soon fell asleep.
The tortoise plodding on overtook him and soon finished the race, emerging as the undisputed champ.
The hare woke up
and realized that he'd lost the race.
The moral- "Slow and steady wins the race. This is the version of the
story that we've all grown up with."
THE STORY DOESN'T END HERE
there are few more interesting
things.....it continues as follows......
The hare was disappointed at losing the race and he did some
He realized that he'd lost the race only because he had been overconfident,
careless and lax.
If he had not taken things for granted, there's no way the tortoise could have beaten him. So he challenged the tortoise to another race.
The tortoise agreed. This time, the hare went all out and ran without
stopping from start to finish. He won by several miles.
The moral - " Fast and consistent will always beat the slow and steady.
It's good to be slow and steady; but it's better to be fast and reliable."
THE STORY DOESN'T END HERE
The tortoise did some thinking this time, and realized that there's no
way it can beat the hare in a race the way it was currently formatted.
It thought for a while, and then challenged the hare to another race, but
on a slightly different route. The hare agreed. They started off. In keeping
with his self-made commitment to be consistently fast, the hare took off and
ran at top speed until he came to a broad river. The finishing line was a
couple of kilometres on the other side of the river.
The hare sat there
wondering what to do.
In the meantime the tortoise trundled along, got into the river, swam to the opposite bank, continued walking and finished the race.
The moral - "First identify your core competency and then change the
playing field to suit your core competency."
THE STORY STILL HASN'T ENDED
The hare and the tortoise, by this time, had become pretty good friends
and they did some thinking together.
Both realized that 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.
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'd felt earlier.
The moral - "It's good to be individually brilliant and to have strong
core competencies; but unless you're able to work in a team and harness each
other's core competencies, you'll always perform below par because
there will always be situations at which you'll do poorly and someone else
Teamwork is mainly about situational leadership, letting the person
with the relevant core competency for a situation take leadership.
Note that neither the hare nor the tortoise gave up after failures. The
hare decided to work harder and put in more effort after his failure. The
tortoise changed his strategy because he was already working as hard as
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.
To sum up- the story of the hare and tortoise has much to say:
Chief among them are that fast and consistent will always beat slow and
steady;work to your competencies; pooling resources and working as a team will always beat individual performers; never give up when faced with
failure; & finally, compete against the situation - not against a rival.