Monday, July 30, 2012

Lessons from a tortoise

We know the story well from childhood: The Tortoise and the Hare.

The elevator pitch of the story could be this: there is a race between a hare and a tortoise.  The hare, being faster, runs on ahead but takes a nap, confident that they'll win the race.  In the meantime, the tortoise chugs on ahead of the hare and in the end beats the hare to the finish line.

How can you turn this lesson towards you and your own life?

We've all heard the stories, the tale of someone who seems to blaze from out of nowhere, right into the clutches of fame.  Then, in a few short years, they wink out like a candleflame, and everyone wonders, "Whatever happened to __________________ ?"

Then there are others, those who slowly work their way out of the depths of obscurity, and out into the limelight.  These are the ones who make their craft look so easy.  We all know them and love them, be it authors or musicians or industry leaders or speakers or . . .

Both groups share something in common: it tooks years for them to hone their skills enough, driven by passion, in order for them to make a living doing what they love.  This is essentially the premise to Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers and his 10,000-hour rule for success.

What both groups differ is their thought-processes.  The first group is like the hare, wanting a shortcut to success.  The second group works day-in and day-out, working on their craft, until several years go by when they realize their level of success has risen.  Use the lesson of the tortoise in your own life.  Don't look for shortcuts.  Do the hard work, today, and you will find a greater level of success than what you have ever dreamed of.

Be the tortoise.

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