The tale retold.
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 sprinted down the road for a while, tired, 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!” – StoryArts
There is a lot to be learned from this story. It might take ages for one to truly grasp the wisdom hidden behind it because in order to fully comprehend the deep implications from this overtold tale, you need to understand The Compound Effect (by Darren Hardy).
Here is one example from the book: The Magic Penny.
If you were given a choice between taking $3 million in cash this very instant and a single penny that doubles in value every day for 31 days, which would you choose? If you’ve heard this before, you know the penny gambit is the choice you should make – you know it’s the course that will lead to greater wealth. Yet why it is so hard to believe choosing the penny will result in more money in the end? Because it takes so much longer to see the payoff. Let’s take a closer look.
Let’s say you take the cold, hard cash and your friend goes the penny route. On Day Five, your friend has sixteen cents. You, however, have $3 million. On Day Ten, it’s $5.12 versus your big bucks. How do you think your friend is feeling about her decision? You’re spending your millions, enjoying the heck out of it, and loving your choice.
After 20 full days, with only 11 days left, Penny Lane has only $5,243. How is she feeling about herself at this point? For all her sacrifice and positive behavior, she has barely more than $5,000. You, however, have $3 million. Then the invisible magic of the Compound Effect starts to become visible. The same small mathematical growth improvement each day makes the compounded penny worth $10,737,418.24 on Day Thirty-one, more than three times your $3 million.
The compound effect is SLOW and not visible at first, but it beats the hare, 1 cent at a time. The moral of the story is that consistency over time is so important. Darren Hardy emphasizes on consistency where those seemingly small and insignificant steps completed consistently over time will create a radical difference.
The magic of compounding is equally powerful in every area of our life. He also provides an example of three friends where all of them grew up together in the same neighborhood. They are all married and have similar income and health and body weight.
However, each of them starts making some small, seemingly inconsequential changes. At the end of five months, no perceivable differences exist among them. But they keep going on with their activities. At the end of ten months, there is still not much noticeable changes in any of their lives.
But at about month twenty-five, the differences start to be really measurable. At month twenty-seven, there is an expansive difference. One is gaining weight, another is trim (by cutting 125 calories a day) and the last one, who makes positive changes everyday, earned a promotion and a raise and a thriving marriage.
Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken. – Warren Buffett
As Darren Hardy put it, the compound effect is at work all the time whether you are aware of it or not.
Have long-term goals (e.g. be financial independent) and create a system to reach them by dividing the goals into smaller reachable short-term goals (that are achievable everyday, e.g. save money) that are aligned to the end goals. Avoid conflicting goals that compromise and interfere with each other. Having a system or routine ensures you to be consistent. McDonald has a system and that system makes McDonald tons of money. With a system, you just need to repeat yourself everyday to reach your goal.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. – Aristotle
Having a system also avoid you to have unrealistic goals like trying to get rich quick, lose fat in one week, etc. That is a sure way you will lose interest and give up after a while because you cannot sprint a marathon.
Tracking is also part of the formula in being consistent. Track your progress and make changes accordingly to avoid drifting away from your goals. You cannot know what you are not aware of if you don’t measure.
You need to have an edge in your life to be successful. Being consistent is your edge. Let time and the compound effect work for you. Whether it is to do exercise everyday, read books, or save money. Do them consistently, and one day you will see the effect. That’s how the Tortoise beats the Hare.