The hare and the tortoise fable has featured heavily in my life this week as over the Easter weekend we watched the CBeebies ballet and then through the next few days it kept popping up. Difficult to ignore and really quite apt as I walk along this path towards a new life. But does slow and steady win the race?
There are so many days when I, a type A personality (hare), feel the need to rush through all the things I have to do. I should stop there and correct myself, they are things I feel I need to do. Does it *really* matter if the hoovering gets done or if I skip a workout? No, probably not. To balance my hare-like tendencies I practice tortoise-like activities like mindfulness. It is in these reflective moments I become more like the tortoise (Type B personality). I tell myself that it is progress, not perfection and that each step is a step forward. Confucius said this:
“It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you don’t stop”
Here I am, on this journey, considering whether it is best to be the hare or the tortoise. It got me thinking, we put so much pressure on ourselves. We spend so much time comparing ourselves to others. We wonder whether we have made the right choices, wondering what they think of us, how we measure up, who is the most successful, or the winner. I thought people in their cars must be judging me on how fast or slow I was going when I first started running.
Humans are selfish
I can tell you a secret though, no-one else cares. Everyone is far too busy wondering what other people think of them to actually think about anyone else. If they do think about you it’s usually to berate themselves. How often when we are driving in our cars and see someone running is our initial thought “oh, I really should get out and exercise more”? (top tip: beware the ‘should’ word; it’s usually a warning that you are worrying too much about what others think).
I can be inspired by other coaches and people I have met but do not need to compare myself to others, I am good enough. Life is about balance, some days I run fast, some days I don’t run at all. It doesn’t matter, what matters is that I focus on my path and know that I am doing the best that I can.
By understanding my own personality traits I can compensate when needed. Being the hare helps me get things done, like writing this blog in between loading the dishwasher and playing with the children. Being a tortoise helps me achieve my long term goals and plan effectively so that when I do have 15 minutes spare I can achieve a lot.
Do you identify most with the hare or the tortoise? When is it useful for you to use these traits?