What does “slow and steady wins the race” REALLY mean?

I mean come on.

There comes a point where some quotes need a little more explaining. Slow cannot possibly win the race because racing is all about speed. They’re all about whoever crosses the finish line first, wins. Period.

Obviously this isn’t the case here and I think the reason why is because of our definitions of winning. Let’s zoom out and look at the race not as a track, but as a timeline. That timeline will show our journey to happiness. So the slower ones take more time to be happy and the fast ones are satisfied instantly.

Also, let’s use the classic tortoise and the hare example:


Let’s say, tortoises are people in life who have bumpy beginnings. Daily life is a struggle either because they just don’t understand everything or they’re still finding their way but regardless, they don’t give up. They were never taught how to win the race quickly (but maybe that’s a good thing). They don’t know any shortcuts and take everything head on.

The hare on the other hand, is a metaphor for people that only know shortcuts. Why participate in clubs or extracurricular activities when all you need is credits? Why fall in love and work on a relationship, when I can just sleep with new girls every night. They haven’t encountered any bumps along the way because well, they simply avoided them.  

Winning in this case would be a metaphor for learning. Although the tortoise has stumbled on rocks, gone up hills, through caves, under mountains, he’s truly learned valuable lessons because he experienced them. And although he’s having a hard time finding his way, he’ll get there eventually. 


Meanwhile the hare, avoids obstacles. He wants a simple, easy life. He goes around mountains, he goes downhill, and avoids rocks because he doesn’t want to bleed. The hare doesn’t want to experience valuable lessons. He wants instead to read them in a book and never truly learn them.

Although he’s first to the finish line, who really won the race?

The tortoise won because he experienced the rough end of living. He’s learned from it and strengthened himself. He’s 100% learned priceless lessons through pain and work and looking back he’ll be forever grateful. The hare however, has ended the race in the same state he started it. He’s learned nothing. For him, this was just a race.


Now comes the important part, how can we apply this lesson to our life?

Do we want to be a tortoise or a hare? Do we want everyday to be like the last or do we want to live and experience? Do we want to avoid the bumps in the road or do we want to trip and fall on them and get up better than before?

I’m a tortoise and I say be proud of anything rocks you stumble on. I say be proud of any hills you go up and any mountains you climb. Be proud of any pain you’re going through right now. Remember: you’re going through a tough time because you dared to tackle it on, whereas other have avoided it. 

If you agree with me, drop a like. If not, argue with me in the comment section. Either way, make sure to follow to read my next post on Tuesday!


32 thoughts on “What does “slow and steady wins the race” REALLY mean?

  1. Hmm, never thought of it that way! I’ve always enjoyed taking the longer route (or in this case, slower pace)… I like to take everything in and to learn along the way. How can someone see it all when they take the shortcut? Simple: they can’t. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yup, my horoscope promises me a lifetime of happiness once I get over the hump… And I really hope that’s true, too! I’m not stuck being the tortoise for nothing haha!


  2. But you have to be able to visualize where you are going and realize if you start to doubt yourself and change course in a hurry because most people are self-defeatist. it is easier to live the same life in the same space because you think you want security, than it is to actually DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT! How boring. Live is to be lived, and if it doesn’t work out – do something different, because when it is over you’re going to find yourself in a nursing home, so you might as well have an interesting life that no one will believe you had the guts to live.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think i’ll put myself in the shoes of those who had a bumpy or no not at all beginning, but refusing to give up. The beginning is always the difficult part one has to come across in all ideals of life. Haha Just warming up!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post! “Slow and steady wins the race,” however, it is only possible to win if the distance is long and far. If it is a short distance, there is indeed need to be steady and swift. You know people like a fast pace world, same with an instant food. Hahaha! 🙂 People get tired of waiting, well, patience is a virtue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah. The distance like I said would be your journey towards happiness. You could give up and still get there along the way, but it’ll take longer. The less times you give up (like small giving up, just for the day) the shorter the journey will be 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this so much. I’ve always done everything in pretty much my own time (aka: slow) because I love experiencing new ways of doing things, trying, failing, trying again. …I’m probably too addicted to the process and put off finishing because once you finish… then what?
    Well, there’s always new things to learn and do. I have to constantly remind myself of that. There’s definitely a balance of relishing in the journey and remembering there’s a finish line.

    “Nothing fails like success, because we don’t learn from it. We only learn from failure.” -Kenneth Boulding, economist, philosopher, systems scientist


  6. I came back to read this since I started working at a fast food restaurant and I keep on making so many mistakes. I’ve been thinking of quitting but it’s barely been 3 weeks. Every mistake is a life lesson, but I can’t help it. I keep on trying to come up with a good excuse to quit because that’s how mentally weak I am. But if I quit and avoid this tough experience will I become like the hare?


    1. Hey thanks for coming back and reading again 🙂 Sorry for the late response, I must’ve missed this notification. Here’s the way I think of it. There are many people all around us, either at work, strangers on the street, even our own family who decide to always quit and never see something through. The biggest problem with this is that once you quit, that’s all you’ll ever do. After that first instance of giving up, the rest of them will become much easier. I worked in the restaurant business and I know it can be tough, but we all have it in to keep on going, keep pulling through. It’s what’ll separate you from everyone else. Also, the longer you ignore those excuses the less you’ll make. They’ll start sounding worse after weeks of ignoring them. Keep on pushing 🙂 There are people in your shoes who are pushing also and they want you to keep on going too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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