About to reach the finish line, the tortoise had just another step to take. Slow and steady, he had conquered the other side of that coveted finish line. It was too late for the hare, no matter how fast he scurried and ran.
We’ve all imagined and re-imagined the way one of the slowest animals on the planet won this race that was thrust upon him. The tortoise, for all we know, must have wondered about his significance in this race. If we were to think about the thoughts that went through his mind, it would have been something like this:
Tortoise: Why has everyone included me in a race that is not in my interest? I wonder why so many of my fellow terrestrials are eager to know about the result of this race. It’s clear that whether one sprints, jumps, crawls, or walks in that direction, we will eventually get there. What’s the hurry? Well anyway, let’s just get this over with!
The hare was very confident of his abilities and boasted about his speed to every mammal around. With an insatiable appetite to show off his greatness, he challenged a tortoise, knowing well about the difference in speed. After the tortoise accepted the challenge, the race began.
Running far ahead, the hare looked back and knew that he had reached and covered the racing track significantly past his opponent’s visibility. So, he decided to take a nap midway. But in what seemed like a few short winks, the hare woke up to his failure of winning the race.
Hare: But all I did was take a nap! I deserve to win this race. I am naturally faster than anyone in this forest.
Indeed, the pursuit of any goal is to achieve it. However, the wise who stick to being focused, consistent, and patient are the real race winners. Rushing and sacrificing balance or practicality to achieve perfection can only trick one into stumbling along the way.
“Perfect is the enemy of good.” ~Voltaire
There is a WISE WAY and there is an OTHERWISE WAY of living. The wise way of living won’t force you to achieve something at the cost of your sanity. While the ‘otherwise’ way of living will have you needlessly treat one goal as the only focal point in your life.
Picture a person staring at the sky.
Standing in a crowded corner, he keeps looking at the moon and this draws everyone’s attention. After a few minutes, you find people gathering around the man and looking up at the sky too. What’s up there? They all wonder, forgetting what’s currently around them and in close proximity.
This is what it’s like when a leader is only looking at one point in their life and trying to perfect it beyond comparison. As a result, he loses focus on the other pertinent parts of his leadership journey. This further results in anxiety and stress created by the need to perfect one’s ways.
A leader with a great FIT score on all the five dimensions of health is living a wise way of life. He or she is focused on achieving the natural normal goal when it comes to the five dimensions of health:
· Physical Health
· Social Health
· Mental or Emotional Health
· Intellectual Health
· Spiritual Health
The person running after perfection will always find themselves stuck in unhealthy situations. This is why the hare found himself focusing on winning, showing off, and feeling good about himself. His intent was only to be known as the fastest animal in the woods. Whereas the tortoise, although slow, was wise enough to understand that they were both headed toward the finish line. It didn’t matter who finished first as long as they both finished it in their own ‘quality time’.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
Wendell Berry explains it beautifully in his poem:
The Peace of Wild Things
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light.
For a time, I rest in the grace of the world and am free.