To me, the tale of the tortoise and the hare couldn't be more profound. Let's take a second look at this beloved classic and interpret it from a new angle.
Inside the hare, the underlying attitude:
I am willing to overestimate myself and underestimate others as a way of life.
I like to measure and judge. My self-esteem is based on who I am relative to others--competition and comparison. It is based primarily on what I accomplish, not who I simply am. That is, external accomplishments feature centrally in propping my identity up.
I focus on the destination and results, to which I am of course naturally entitled. Results may not be in my control but that's all that I really care about nonetheless. I look forward to the recognition I will earn. I dream of it. I can almost taste it.
The tortoise cannot possibly match up to my prowess. My explosive talent alone will earn me victory. I believe talent alone matters. My talent merits my arrogance. My talent merits a poor work ethic. The actual race is a formality.
I've joined this race motivated by vanity. I want one more victory, one more notch on my belt. Why not choose somebody who is so obviously way beneath me? My thoughts, words, and actions are about ARRIVING somewhere although perhaps I pay lip service to the cliché that success is about the journey and not the destination.
Values expressed include
Appearance-based success; talent over character; results; competition/comparison; short-term thinking
The hare represents the ego.
Perhaps with a bit more humility, he could harness his raw talent towards something truly beautiful. The hare can learn better ways of being like anyone else. He's not forever condemned for losing a race. I like to think the hare learned from his failure. Because especially the one in the video is pretty cute.
Inside the tortoise, the underlying attitude:
I focus on each step. It matters not how much the odds appear to be stacked against me. I focus on and take care of all that which is in my direct control. Anything outside that is irrelevant. I am not the type to waste lots of energy with stress, anxiety, and nerves neglecting to notice that all that is really up to me is how I run the race.
My competition has no impact on how I conduct myself. I may not have been dealt the greatest hand, but I will play it to my utmost. I believe in myself. I back up my intentions with the full strength of my will and character.
There's no use in getting anxious about the results. I have nothing to lose anyway so I can be relaxed. People don't have very high expectations of what I am capable of in this situation, but I have a hunch I can win.
I can't predict the future. There are no guarantees. But I trust that hunch and I'd like to see where that leads me. I will do my part. I will keep showing up, focused and determined, step after step after step after step. It would be easy to count myself out and entertain negative attitudes, but something deeper in me propels me forward in the face of that resistance. I draw on that in me. I will live up to that as best I can and maybe I will even inspire others.
If nothing else, this is a learning experience and an experiment that will somehow enrich my life. I am motivated to live well and express who I am.
Values expressed include
Self-trust, perseverance/determination, focus, willingness to fail, wisdom
The tortoise represents the best in each of us, our hearts and souls.
We can let the tortoise be a reminder about winning.
Let's remember to let go of the need for instant gratification, appearance-based motivations, and undue focus on competition. Let's face our fears and resistance, and the perceived weaknesses in the hand we've been dealt. Simply putting forward the best of what's available to us step-by-step even if it seems painfully slow--great, unexpected things can happen. Our character can take us further than we thought otherwise possible.
But the biggest thing is that it requires listening to ourselves rather than getting so caught up with all the noise around us.