One of the earliest proverbs that stuck to your mind – slow and steady wins the race, and the story illustrates how the swift hare loses a race to a slow and steady tortoise, because the hare tends to be complacent. This story is perhaps the best illustration of the title – do we get overwhelmed by `hares’ and bored of tortoises for their respective styles. I wonder, in in modern times, what odds the bookies would have offered to those wanting to bet on the tortoise!
Just on this story alone there have been many sequels – like fast and furious win, rendering this tale to be irrelevant. Every machine we go in for we want speed to be one of the first qualifier, and then perhaps we look for stability. The example often quoted was the initial success of dot-com boom that ushered in a whole new term thus dividing business into New Economy and Old Economy. Ring out the Old, Ring in the new – and everyone followed the Hare, till the tortoise caught up and today people trust not just an idea, but an idea supported with logic and long term success, thus lending this tale relevant all over again.
Nations with history and tradition that got left behind in the industrialization age are suddenly witnessing an upsurge and demands for their ancient practice, systems and treatments. Yoga, Ayurveda, Meditation are three simple examples from India. West is moving towards vegetarianism, and other cultured habits, while the East is moving towards the chaotic habits of the West.
In another sequel of the Hare and the Tortoise, the also race involved crossing a pond, and the story has it that the two decided to co-operate and take the race together. On land the Hare took the tortoise on its back, while in the water, the tortoise took the hare on its back and completed the race faster. Another concept of Interdependence, Co-opetition (competitive co-operation) illustrated beautifully.
Our interpretation of Hare and Tortoise in the modern times draws a parallel to Wealth and Knowledge respectively. Those who dream of acquiring wealth may succeed, their progress may be swift, and get perceived as winners. They are bound to get complacent like the hare and get caught in the wheels of time. Those seeking knowledge are able to do so and have a steady rise in their careers, and equip themselves to face tomorrow with agility. Surely you know so many hares in your life.
Thank god that world is now referring to the current age as Knowledge Economy (Wealth). We are lucky to be living in exciting times, but should one try to give a cold shoulder to knowledge, then you are bound to witness a society of cosmetic winners, who will end up as bad losers, while those who pursue knowledge as core will emerge as winners in the long run. Patience, Perseverance pays!
If your learning is for knowledge sake, then earning will automatically follow, but if you are learning for earning sake, then you need to re-look your learning.