Slow and Steady Wins the Race


A hare one day ridiculed the short feet and slow pace of the Tortoise, who replied, laughing: “Though you be swift as the wind, I will beat you in a race.” The Hare, believing her assertion to be simply impossible, assented to the proposal; and they agreed that the Fox should choose the course and fix the goal. On the day appointed for the race the two started together. The Tortoise never for a moment stopped, but went on with a slow but steady pace straight to the end of the course. The Hare, lying down by the wayside, fell fast asleep. At last waking up, and moving as fast as he could, he saw the Tortoise had reached the goal, and was comfortably dozing after her fatigue.

The moral of the story has always been told as – slow & steady wins the race.

Why is this the only moral of the story? Can the moral not be stated as – Do not be too proud of your strengths?

Is it not possible that this particular hare was foolish enough to doze off? Is it not possible that the hare learnt his lesson after losing the race?

What is the probability that the tortoise has more than 50% odds of winning in any given race with a hare? Will you bet on the hare or the tortoise?

Why is the moral told from the tortoise’s viewpoint but not from the hare’s viewpoint?

I think there would be no story if the hare had won the race. The tortoise was the underdog & therefore his winning is the crux of the story.

But it is still difficult to wrap one’s head around the point that a slow & steady approach of the tortoise will always be a winning strategy against the hare.

While this seems obvious, there is another perspective from which this approach makes real sense and this is what Aesop was referring to as the moral of the story.

​The slow and steady approach is actually a mental attitude towards attaining one’s aim. It refers to remembering one’s aim and not forgetting it. Even if one makes a slow and steady progress, it is better than making fast, random, distracted efforts like the hare, who got lazy, tired and slept off. The hare did not remember his aim and ultimately lost to the tortoise.

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