Have you ever watched a track meet? During these competitions there are tons of athletes who compete in their various events. And because there are so many different events, there’s something there for everyone. The field part of “track and field” is made up of people like shot putters, javelin throwers, discus throwers, pole vaulters, long jumpers, triple jumpers, and high jumpers. Basically any event that doesn’t take place on the actual track is included in the field component. Then you also have those competitors who actually race on the track. The sprinters run the 100 meters, 200 meters, and the 400 meters. The middle distance runners go from 800 meters to a mile (1600 meters). The hurdlers run various distances, but they have to jump over hurdles that are in their path. And then the long distance runners do all of the running that is above one mile.
The distance events may not be as exciting to watch as a fast-paced 100 meter dash, but they’re still pretty impressive. The fact that these individuals are able to run for miles and miles at a steady pace is incredible. And it’s not just that they keep that pace, it’s that they’re able to do it in record times. I can run 10,000 meters, which is just over 6 miles, but there’s no way I could do that in 29 minutes 17 seconds and 45 milliseconds, which is the women’s world record. I couldn’t even do that in my dreams!
These distance runners have to work hard, and do special training to be able to run a race like that in that amount of time. If they trained like sprinters they would never make it to the end. Running at full speed for short periods of times, works for athletes doing distances of 400 meters or less, but it’s not very practical for anyone else. They would tire out pretty quickly if they started off their race by sprinting. They might last a full lap before they would have to take a while to recover and go back at it again. And this stop and go recovery would end up giving them a much slower time than if they had decided to pace themselves. So in this instance going slow and steady does win the race, and the same thing can go for your life too.
Sometimes you may see everyone else sprinting around you, but that doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily going to make it to the finish line. Just because you’re working hard doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re also making smart decisions. If you’re going at a pace that works for you, that’s all that matters. When the tortoise and the hare raced, the hare might have been the faster one, but the tortoise was the one who ended up winning. He went at a pace that worked for him. He didn’t concern himself with how fast his competitor was going. Instead, he focused on himself and on what he had to do to finish his race. And when he won in the end, the hare realized that it was possible, to win if you just slow down. And that goes for you as well.
Positive thinker, stop being so concerned about being the fastest one on the track. It doesn’t matter how you start, it just matters that you’re the one who ends up becoming a winner. And wining in this case might not be being the first one to reach a goal the fastest. It might mean that you were able to learn the most along the way or that you had the most fun because, let’s face it, a lot of people are so wrapped up with getting to the end that they fail to fully experience the journey, and that can be winning in and of itself. Or it could mean that you were able to reach the end without burning yourself out. So many times people are so worried about reaching the end the quickest that they burn out not too long after getting there, but if you take the time to slow down then you can keep on reaping the benefits of that slow and steady pace for years to come.
So be the tortoise, not the hare. And be the distance runner, not the sprinter. Take your time, so that you can be the one who wins the race.