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Steady January 20, 2010

Posted by Brian L. Belen in The Daily Grind.

Maybe we’ve been clinging to the wrong lesson from Aesop’s fable of the Tortoise and the Hare.

In reality, “slow” is not necessarily safer, nor will it guarantee that we’ll get ahead.

Yes, there’s something to be said for stopping to smell the roses, but an equally compelling case can be made that “he who hesitates is lost.”

Try driving at 25mph on a freeway where all the other cars are moving as they should at 65. That’s a recipe for disaster right there.

And it isn’t exactly a good idea to be the slowpoke when the markets begin to tank or when you realize your retirement fund is tied to a Ponzi scheme. We know that it doesn’t pay to be slow when it comes to opportunities for massive gains; but neither does it benefit us when it comes minimizing losses. It’s just like that book tried to remind us some years back: it’s not the big that eat the small; it’s the fast that eat the slow.

Granted, the dangers of being hasty are well documented. On balance, you’d be better off hitting that brick wall at 25mph and not 65. Likewise, for every cool million that’s been made by the lucky few who jumped onto a new trend first, there are scores of early adopters who’ve been burned or lost their shirts precisely because they moved too quickly. Too fast, too soon.

Think about it: the hare lost the race not because he went too fast — if he kept it up, he’d have won hands-down — but because the idiot got cocky and decided to take a nap. Similarly, the tortoise came out ahead not because of his speed (or lack thereof) — but because he just kept at it longer.

So, no: slow and steady don’t always win the race.

But if you’re as fast as you need to be, and steady all the time, odds are you’ll be mighty successful.


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