The Tortoise and the Hare: why winners aren’t always who you think 


The story goes that the tortoise and the hare were in a race. The hare, a very confident and somewhat noisy fellow (so we’re told), decided he could sit back and wait until the last possible minute to cross the finish line. He felt, because the tortoise was so slow, there was no chance his competition would win. Unfortunately for the hare, he dozed off under a tree whilst waiting, and so he lost the race.

This childhood fable reminds us that it’s not always those you’d expect to win – the extroverts – who succeed, and it challenges us to consider whether it’s always the confident, loudest, fastest people who get ahead. Not only did the tortoise win, but his message to keep going even in the face of adversity, offered motivation for us all. In her book Quiet, Susan Cain explains that introverts can succeed just as well, quoting Albert Einstein and JK Rowling as two examples. (There’s more about this in my next newsletter).So what does winning mean to you – what would it look like? I’d love to hear what you think.


In the meantime, here’s some food for thought:

* We may associate winning with being loud and confident but, as I’ve described above, you don’t have to be noisy to get your own way. If you’re finding assertive conversations difficult either at work or at home, you could try preparing a list of things you want to say or the points you want to make, by writing them down and practicing them, perhaps with a friend before hand.  

* Knowing what you want in life to help you succeed can be hard, especially if things have been difficult for so long. Spend an hour imagining what life would look like if you were ‘successful’, to help you get in touch with what success means for you. Start writing a ‘to do’ list – make sure you add some timescales to help you make it happen. Ask for help, if you’re still not sure.

* Something like 50% of the population are introverts – if you’re someone who needs some time out, schedule this in your diary each week, whether it’s to read a book or just sit under a tree – it’s okay to be quiet! Every winner has scars, so whether you’d describe yourself as an extrovert or an introvert, everyone has fought quite a battle to get where they are. Time out is important though, so if you’re feeling the strain, make sure you schedule time to relax as often as possible.

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Susan Cain talks about the Power of Introverts at a TED conference. 

Blog Featured Image courtesy of Warner Bros

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