The Way of the Turtle

In life, there are many paths, all leading to far off destinations, so we must all find our own way. This is mine.

The Hare and the Tortoise as told by Aesop [1]

The Hare was once boasting of his speed before the other animals. “I have never yet been beaten,” said he, “when I put forth my full speed. I challenge any one here to race with me.”

The Tortoise said quietly, “I accept your challenge.”

“That is a good joke,” said the Hare; “I could dance round you all the way.”

“Keep your boasting till you’ve beaten,” answered the Tortoise. “Shall we race?”

So a course was fixed and a start was made. The Hare darted almost out of sight at once, but soon stopped and, to show his contempt for the Tortoise, lay down to have a nap. The Tortoise plodded on and plodded on, and when the Hare awoke from his nap, he saw the Tortoise just near the winning-post and could not run up in time to save the race.

Then said the Tortoise: “Plodding wins the race.”


When I was young, my family had a beautifully illustrated book of Aesop’s Fables. My mother would read them to me and my sister while we looked at the pictures. Mom is a great teacher, so instead of telling us the lesson at the end, she would have us guess. Being smart daughters, rarely did we get it wrong. [2]

Over the last few years, I’ve really learned the importance of the Tortoise’s point. I’m a huge believer in dreaming big, but with big dreams come long struggles, and sometimes it is easier to give up than it is to figure it out. In the end, I’ve found the realized dream is found along the Way of the Turtle and not along the Cliff’s of the Rabbit.

The Way of the Turtle has three [3] main tenants:

  1. It is important to have dreams [4]: Wanting to be more than what we are is a basic human desire. We are here in this life to achieve and become something greater than what we are. The Tortoise, an animal not known for her speed or agility, wanted to win the race. For her, this was a huge, crazy dream. The animals–the Hare especially laughed at her for daring to dream. She was told she could not do it, but this did not stop her from trying.
  2. It is important to have a plan [5]: No dream is realized without a plan. What separates the Tortoises from the Hares is a plan. The Tortoise went into the race knowing exactly what route she would take and how she would take it. By mapping out our quest and figuring out our path, we turn our impossible dream into something achievable.
  3. It is important to work hard everyday [6]: Just having a plan is not enough. Plans must be executed to achieve anything. This involves continuous hard work . The Hare worked hard once. He sprinted once. He saw the end of the race but didn’t finish. He took a nap. The Tortoise not only completed the race but won because she took it a step at a time.

Life is a marathon and not a sprint. This goes for our goals and dreams. Right now, my biggest dream is to be published and turn my love of writing into a career. It’s not an easy dream. It’s going to take years.

But! I will accomplish it a day at a time because I know no amount of sprinting will make it happen tomorrow.

So, this is my way. I’ve used it before [7] and it’s done me well.


[1] Excerpt taken from
[2] I wish I could say that in hard times I thought back to Aesop’s simple life lessons, but I’m one, not a liar, and two, not that zen.
[3] Because two is too few and four is awkward . Three is a magical number. Look around in your world. It’s there more often then you think.
[4] Notice dreams are plural. You should never be limited to just one dream.
[5] A Zombie Plan is best. You can survive much with a solid Zombie Plan.
[6] Never give up. Never surrender.
[7] Running an actual marathon.

6 Responses to "The Way of the Turtle"

  • It’s always interesting to see how any formula for success looks so incredibly simple when written but is seemingly impossible (or at least incredibly difficult) when put into action. So, major kudos to you for sticking to an extremely difficult code. It makes me want to go and find my own inner turtle, since I’m sure it’s plodding there somewhere.

    1 Erin said this (January 17, 2012 at 20:17) Reply

    • I think the path has to be simple. If it’s not then when you get to the hard part–Doing It, giving up is easy because when paths are complicated, frustration sets in. I do so hope you find your Inner Turtle! She’s waiting to teach you all sorts of ways to succeed >.>

      2 Gwynne said this (January 18, 2012 at 09:58) Reply

  • I’m also a big believer in this. Having hared my way through many a paper in my college career, I was surprised one semester to see what happened when I planned and executed my paper throughout the semester. It was a lot easier. >.> And my ideas were more developed since I’d been thinking about it all semester.

    This is also that tack I’m trying to take to write my blog. The end goal is to have a personal history for my posterity, and I do it by writing a little bit (usually 300-800 words) one day at a time. I was doing really well until I got pregnant, but I want to step up and do it again.

    3 emeeks said this (January 18, 2012 at 08:50) Reply

    • Yay! I’m glad to have some so awesome on the path with me >.>

      I’m also turtling through a personal history project. I decided that I wanted to keep a real journal and be consistent about it. But my issue always was that I believed every entry had to be deep and meaningful and long. What I ended up with apologies (to myself) about skipping six months. Then I’d try to sum up all the things I hadn’t written about. It would end in discouragement and giving up.

      This time, I decided that doing it every day was more important than length. All I had to do was write a single sentence about my day. So far I’m 17 for 17 days!

      I hope you can get back into your blog swinging. I really like reading it because it makes me feel like I’m secretly participating in your life ^^;

      4 Gwynne said this (January 18, 2012 at 10:09) Reply

  • You have an amazing talent for seeing to the eternal truth of a matter/principle. Thank you for sharing this with us. (I know that I needed to read/hear this. ^_^)

    5 Adi said this (January 26, 2012 at 21:21) Reply

    • <3 Yay for getting another turtle to join me on the path! I'm glad it was helpful because that's what I wanted it to be when I wrote it. ^^;;

      6 Gwynne said this (January 27, 2012 at 09:18) Reply

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