Slow and Steady

We all know the old fable, about the tortoise and the hare.

Slow and SteadyWe all know the old fable, about the tortoise and the hare.

We all know the old fable, about the tortoise and the hare.

The real-life race between the rabbit and the tortoise, and guess who wins?

— People’s Daily,China (@PDChina) October 22, 2016

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the speed at which I do things. Is it better to get a ton done or just do a few things really well? The two ends of the spectrum are good for different things, and thus elicit different feelings.

To be the best in the world at something, you need a couple of things. Among luck, the most important thing may be focus. It is really easy to get caught up in doing so many different things. The world is full of really interesting problems that will make you money.

Of course, that is impossible, and as I’ve learned, inefficient and unsustainable. We have to focus to get what we want.

How, then do we choose which problems do go after? There are times when I just want to be involved in all of them. Generalists are often experts of nothing and mediocre in everything. That is actually sometimes valuable, but not always.

We also need patience. We get caught up in wanting things done quickly that we forget about the long run.

Patient people are always optimizing for the long run, because they know that in the short run you can only get so much utility. Of course that is in very micro-economic terms, but it does hold true.

In the long run, most of us want to be happy. We want to make an impact. Etc. How we do that is generally just a product of tactical steps we take. We need patience and understanding to realize that those steps will often take a while. It’s an investment of our time and resources in the future that is challenging. We are uncomfortable with the notion of uncertainty and want to get something as collateral.

That is the challenge of building anything, from a friendship to a company to a cake. There is always an assumption being made, an element of risk associated with our investment. Will we make a return?

The only way to find out is to test it. And sometimes, we have to wait a while for results.

Originally published at on October 27, 2016.

Tagged in Self Improvement, Life Lessons

By jordangonen on October 27, 2016.

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Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.