The Tortoise Mindset

18 August, 2021

I’m sure you’ve heard Aesop’s fable about the tortoise and the hare. These days, most people try to live like the hare. I don’t mean that they’re bragging and boasting and challenging random turtles to sprint races, but rather that they want things to go FAST. We are obsessed with instant gratification and immediate results. Everywhere we look there are promises of getting rich quick, lotteries that’ll make you an overnight millionaire, fad diets and training programs that’ll transform your appearance in weeks or days.

You can get fast food, one-hour glasses, thirty-minute photo processing, overnight mail, microwaved food, instant hot water, and emails and text messages delivered anywhere in the world on a seconds notice.

These things have made us expect instant results to the point that when we don’t get them, we get discouraged and immediately quit. But the truth is lasting change doesn’t happen overnight.

For the most part, the results we’re looking for will rarely come quickly. But they won’t take that long, either. In my experience, they tend to take just a little bit longer than we’re comfortable going for. Let’s look at a few examples

  • Exercising for one hour three times a week for a month will show very little, if any, results.
  • Reading one book in January won’t make much of an impact on your personal growth.
  • Meditating 10 minutes a day for a couple of weeks won’t show much of an affect on your mind.

But what if you decided right now to drop the quick-fix mentality of the Hare and instead adopt the mindset of the Tortoise?

What if, instead of obsessing over (and very likely getting discouraged by) the short-term results, you focused on just taking the next tiny step in the right direction?

Failure is a few errors in judgment, repeated every day
Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.

Jim Rohn

If you took these principles to heart you could have the following results within a year:

  • By exercising for one hour three times a week, you would have 150+ hours of exercise under your belt. More than enough to have a huge impact on your health and appearance.
  • By reading one book a month, you would have read 12 books. This means tons of new insights, ideas, and concepts to enrich your life.
  • By meditating 10 minutes a day, you would have 60+ hours of meditation experience. This translates (among many other benefits) into improved focus, creativity, compassion, memory, less stress and anxiety.

It’s not your speed, but your consistency that makes all the difference

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.


When you’re consistent, that creates momentum. That momentum creates progress. The progress creates self-confidence. The self-confidence starts shaping a new, more resourceful and empowering identity. And with this new identity comes the ability to create lasting change in your life.

In case you haven’t heard of the fable, it goes something like this

There once was a speedy hare who bragged about how fast he could run. Tired of hearing him boast, Slow and Steady, the tortoise, challenged him to a race. All the animals in the forest gathered to watch.

Hare ran down the road for a while and then and paused to rest. He looked back at Slow and Steady and cried out, “How do you expect to win this race when you are walking along at your slow, slow pace?”

Hare stretched himself out alongside the road and fell asleep, thinking, “There is plenty of time to relax.”

Slow and Steady walked and walked. He never, ever stopped until he came to the finish line.

The animals who were watching cheered so loudly for Tortoise, they woke up Hare.

Hare stretched and yawned and began to run again, but it was too late. Tortoise was over the line.

After that, Hare always reminded himself, “Don’t brag about your lightning pace, for Slow and Steady won the race!”

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