The Hare and the Tortoise Story Retold

The Hare and the Tortoise Story Retold

We all have grown up with the Panchatantra stories and Esops Fables. Wonderful stories with a moral at the end. This in one such story of the Hare and the Tortoise with lots of lessons for our professional and personal life:

The well known story is about a Hare and a Tortoise who one fine day decide to have a race. Well, the Hare is a fast runner, and is sure to win the race and so the race starts. No surprises here that the Hare runs off over the horizon and soon disappears from sight. The Tortoise on the other hand is a slow and methodical fellow, and trudges along oblivious to the fact that the Hare may well be already over the finish line. But alas the hare is over confident, has an over blown ego and thinks very highly about himself. He is way ahead of the Tortoise and is absolutely sure that he is the winner. He decides to take some rest, and falls asleep, thinking that he shall take a small nap and then finish the race well before the Tortoise can catch up with him. The Hare is a sound sleeper and when he gets up from his sleep he is aghast to see the Tortoise cross the finish line.

Moral 1: The Slow and steady wins the race.

But the Hare is made of sterner stuff. He is one who learns from his mistakes and does a RCA (Root Cause Analysis) and comes to the conclusion that he slept before he finished the race (task) and hence the Tortoise was able to beat him. Learning from mistakes is one of the leadership traits.

So he challenges the Tortoise for another race. The Tortoise is confident that he will still win and readily agrees. So the day comes and off they go. The Hare, true to his promise to himself again runs fast and goes way ahead of the Tortoise. This time he does not stop for a rest but crosses the finish line and then takes a rest.

Moral 2: Fast, Furious and Focused will always win against the slow and the steady.

But then the Tortoise is no fool. He is unhappy about his loss and does a RCA on himself. Comes to the conclusion that however hard he may try he simply cannot run faster that the Hare. But he is no quitter. He challenges the Hare to another race. The Hare is by now a bit cocky and again over confident. After all his RCA has given him the win and there is no way the Tortoise can run faster than him.

Come race day and the crowd gathers and the race starts. The Hare runs off into the distance – keeping in mind the lesson Fast, Furious, and Focused. Suddenly there comes a river in the path. Gosh, he never thought of it and the Tortoise had changed the course slightly to put this water obstacle in the path. The Hare sits on the river bank wondering what to do – after all he can’t swim. Lo and behold the Tortoise comes along, gives him a hi 5, slips into the water and crosses to the other side and wins the race. The Hare sits on the opposite bank twiddling his thumbs.

Moral 3: Fast, furious and focused is great but don’t lose focus of the environment. The world is constantly changing and be prepared for this change. Don’t let change catch you off guard. Prepare yourself for any eventuality.

Well by now the Hare and the Tortoise have become good friends and realize that they seem to be competing against each other and causing stress for themselves. Why not collaborate and take part in the race jointly as a team instead of fighting against each other. So they once again have a race. This time during the land phase the Hare picks up the tortoise and runs and during the water phase the Hare climbs on the back of the Tortoise and they swim across and finish the race together. Both are happy that they have succeeded against the odds and feel a high.

Moral 4: Fast, furious and focused is great but don’t lose focus of the environment. Life is not just a race to be won but a journey to be enjoyed.

If you run the race alone the world will seem to be conspiring against you and at some time you are bound to lose. On the other had if you build relationships, collaborate with the people around you, you will get the strength and the will to take on life’s challenges, enjoy the journey and lead a stress free life.


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