Why I’d Rather Be a Tortoise Than a Hare

I'd rather be a tortoise than a hare

Are you a long distance runner or a short distance sprinter? The story of the hare and the tortoise portrays so clearly what it means to be a long distance runner or a short distance sprinter. It’s true that a sprinter (the hare) gets there more quickly and with more aplomb while the tortoise trudges along a one-quarter inch at a time.

What often happens (and I’ve been guilty) is we make plans, goals, and have aspirations. Rather than taking our time and charting a course, we hurry off before we take the time to count the cost or consider whether or not our plan is do-able.

What high aspirations we have! How much we will accomplish in just a short time!

Read the Bible through in a year?! Why not do it in six months, or even three?! Lose fifty pounds in a year? Better yet, cinch it in three months! Invite friends over more often, like once a month? Pooh. Do it once a week!

Why I'd rather be a tortoise than a hare

Lickety-split, like a hare sprinting against the tortoise, we bounce off, determined that we can do this. 365 days later it isn’t as easy as it seemed. Half the time, we haven’t accomplished what we set out to do. Worse yet, our goals have fallen by the wayside. Like the hare, we take a siesta half way through because we’re exhausted. We are so far behind anyhow or we’re not certain we want to stay this course.

The tortoise, on the other hand, keeps plodding along inch by inch. While it might seem that it’s not getting anywhere, it does. It can travel 12-22 miles per hour, while a hare can run anywhere from 27 to 45 miles per hour.

In our New Year’s resolutions, the folks who scatter off in a hurry tend to bomb out quicker than those who take their time, planning and preparing first. That’s not only been my observation, it’s also what I’ve experienced.

the tortoise is a winner every time

Slow and steady ends up being surer, while swift and snappy can be less stable.

Those who make the biggest show or the most elaborate presentation aren’t always the most genuine. I’d rather be safe and sure and get the job done right than hurry and hop along, becoming clumsy in my work.

I'd rather be a tortoise than a hare

When we were kids, we sometimes hurried through our jobs so we’d have more time for swimming or reading or playing outside in the snow. Our jobs weren’t done as well as they could have been because we were sprinting toward a goal. Rather than aiming for doing the best, we hurried along so we could have more fun. That’s natural with kids – and sometimes with adults. In our fervor to get there quickly, we sometimes fail to take the time to learn a procedure properly, follow a recipe exactly, study the true meaning of a Bible verse deeply, or hurry over an apology – all because we have another agenda.

Maybe it’s part of growing older, but I think I’m learning to be more careful, more deliberate, and more settled in my choices. I more easily recognize that doing things fast and in a hurry doesn’t guarantee it will be done the best. I also recognize that beginning well can guarantee better success.

Whether it’s working on a relationship, cleaning out a closet, or putting a meal together, most of the time, slow and steady is guaranteed to come out ahead.

the tortoise nears the finish line!

Your goals and plans for this year? Try slow and steady – you’ll be bound to have enough energy to run the race well, complete it on time, and cross that finish line without being harried, out of breath, or discouraged. It’s not an embarrassment to be like the tortoise, for he finished completely, and he finished well on time. In fact, he won the race.



The main difference between a tortoise and a turtle is where they live.  A tortoise spends all of his time on land.  A turtle, however, can travel on land but spends most of its time in the water.

Hares and rabbits are in the same family, but their species are different (like a sheep and a goat).  Hares are larger, have longer ears, and are less social than rabbits.

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  1. Hi Gert, I just stumbled on your post and I find it comforting. I’ve recently started to slow down a bit, enjoy the little things in life and most importantly take my time to feel any experience of life to its fullest. It’s true: we live in a society that is impatient and want things done fast. And though I’m only 28, I feel like I’ve rushed through so many things and promised myself to enjoy the journey, rather than focus on the end. Thank you for your post.

  2. Hi Fany,
    Thanks for dropping in and for your affirmation. It is a journey, isn’t it? Bless you on your journey, and for realizing what matters most!

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