I am sure we have all heard the story of the Hare and the Tortoise and we have grown up with the moral of the story, “Slow and steady wins the race.” Times have changed, and with time, a lot else has changed. With the advancement in techniques and the element of competition in everything we do, it is necessary that we look at how we can be ahead of others. Hence, a need to change this story as well. The story thus continues…
When the Hare woke up and discovered he had lost the race, he critically examined where he had faulted – his analysis came up with the following: he had been over confident, careless and lax. He knew that if he had not taken things for granted, the Tortoise could never have beaten him, so he decided to challenge the Tortoise again.
The Tortoise accepted his challenge and they went into another race. This time the Hare was very alert and he went all out and ran from start to finish without any stops, he won the race by several miles. What is the moral of the story?
“Fast and consistent will always beat the slow and steady.”
When the Tortoise recovered from the shock of losing the race, he reviewed the position of both, the Hare and his own. He was convinced that there was no way he could win this race in the way it was formatted. So, he put his thinking cap on and came up with a slight change – he changed the route of the race.
The Hare agreed to race against the Tortoise again. They started off. In keeping with his self-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 two kilometers on the other side of the river! The Hare sat there wondering what to do. Meanwhile, the Tortoise trundled along, got into the river and swam to the opposite bank, continued walking and finished the race. This time the moral is:
“Identify your core competency and redefine the playing field to suit your core competency”.
The story does not end here.
By now the Hare and the Tortoise had become good friends; they did some thinking together and realized that they could have run the last race much better. So they decided to run the last race again, but this time as a team. They started off, this time with the Hare carrying the Tortoise on his back until the river and then the Tortoise swam through the river with the Hare on its back. On the opposite bank the Hare carried the Tortoise again 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 is good to be individually brilliant and to have strong core competencies, but it is far better to work in a team and harness each other’s core competencies for mutual benefit”.
There are more lessons to be learned from this story:
1. Neither the Hare nor the Tortoise gave up after their failures – the Hare decided to work harder and put in more efforts, while the Tortoise changed his strategy. In real life it is sometimes appropriate to work harder and put in more effort and sometimes it is necessary to change strategy and, in some cases, both.
2. When we stop competing against a rival and compete against a situation, we perform far better.