In our society today, we are driven by instant gratification and the relentless pursuit of “quick wins”. Patience has essentially dissolved, and a demand for “NOW” is prevalent.
A timeless wisdom that often gets overlooked is the power of ‘slow and steady wins the day.’ This age-old adage reminds us that success is not always about speed or flashy achievements but rather about the steady, consistent progress we make towards our goals.
We want to dive into the profound meaning behind this phrase and explore some major reasons why embracing a patient and methodical approach can lead to more successful outcomes.
Let’s take a few moments away from the frantic pace of instant gratification and discover the hidden, explosive potential within the art of moving slowly yet surely towards our aspirations.
Consistency and Persistence
Surely you recall the children’s fable of ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’ where a tortoise and a hare decide to have a race in the woods. The end of the fable rejoices in the victory of the tortoise who, slowly and steadily, won the race due to the hare’s overconfidence in his own abilities. Of course, there are more nuances to this fable, but the overall point is evident.
While we can probably view this in a couple of different ways, the inherent lesson remains the same: consistency and steadiness are invaluable. Sure, there are reasons why we might place a greater amount of importance on speed; however, the bottom line is that we know when something is rushed, the quality is often compromised…especially when taking on a new skill or learning something we may be unfamiliar with.
Consistency and persistence are key throughout the journey. By taking consistent and steady steps towards a goal, individuals can make steady progress over time. This progress is more easily measured and therefore, more easily fixed if something comes along that creates a roadblock. Being consistent and methodical offers more clarity within your journey.
Think of your favorite sports figure. Let’s take Michael Jordan, for example. He did not begin playing basketball and suddenly launch into the NBA Finals. Even when he dabbled in baseball, his existing superstar status did not immediately shoot him past the minors and into the World Series. His talent and abilities “stacked” over time, and as he learned more about the sport he was playing, he could perform at a higher level and more consistently.
Now imagine a college aged person jumping into the NFL and having the athletic ability of a middle school gym student. Would he/she make it to the finals? Probably not. In fact, they would probably get kicked off the team (eventually)!
The value of consistency and persistence is immeasurable when you’re working towards accomplishing a goal. Smaller, more pointed steps make the difference between success and failure. While it may seem boring or mundane, repeating a process over and over creates a ‘muscle memory’ that will be retained over time. Do not sacrifice the quality of what you’re doing simply to finish the task or to avoid taking the time to ensure your comprehension. You will be doing a disservice to your journey by depriving yourself of the tools you need to emerge successful in the end.
Quality and the Long Term
As we mentioned, quality is a huge issue when comparing the benefits of working methodically and consistently versus working for speed. Rushing through tasks or taking shortcuts may yield immediate results, but they often lack durability for the long-term.
What is durability in skill acquisition? It is the process of learning new information through repetition and practice that will not fade away through time or use. Durability is paramount to your journey as a whole.
When taking on something such as learning a new skill, the primary goal is not to quickly learn the basics but to master them through consistency so you can build on them and work up. The durability of your knowledge increases as you master each level. Focusing on speed during a journey like this will only result in mediocre comprehension, at best, and most likely result in failure.
By prioritizing thoroughness, attention to detail, and a long-term perspective, individuals can build a solid foundation for sustainable success…and who doesn’t want sustainability in success?
It would be unlikely for you to undertake learning something new just to finish the curriculum lacking the knowledge you need to utilize it. What’s the point? If you take the time to review your material and focus upon it, practice and review it, it will undoubtedly yield much more positive results.
Taking a measured and deliberate approach to any new skill acquisition or learning experience will provide you the opportunity to learn from your experiences and make necessary adjustments along the way.
Being mindful throughout your journey and making time to reflect upon it is crucial. If there are gaps within the process, or lack of comprehension, it is much easier to review and repeat the material while maintaining consistency if you’re taking your time. Imagine rushing through learning a new language, and not realizing that you can’t conjugate verbs correctly, for instance. What good is the knowledge of a new language if no one can understand you?
Focus on your self-awareness and give yourself the ability to evaluate your own progress. Are you where you think you should be, and if not…why not? What steps can you take to “catch up”? If your focus is on speed and just getting it done, will you even recognize what you may be lacking?
Learning from your successes and your failures through a new journey is part of the process. We know that everyone learns differently, and there are preferences that we have to fully comprehend and retain new information. This becomes nearly impossible if our concern lies within how quickly we can get through it…but becomes possible if we take the time to analyze and fix those gaps.
The phrase ‘Slow and Steady Wins the Day,’ reminds us of the profound impact that patience, persistence, and a focus on quality can have on our journey towards success. In a world that often values immediate results and quick fixes, embracing a measured and deliberate approach can set us apart. This is true in everything from learning a new skill to starting a new job – and everything in between.
By consistently taking small steps forward, maintaining a long-term perspective, and cultivating mindfulness, we lay the foundation for enduring achievements and personal growth. So, let us remember the power of ‘slow and steady’ and embark on our paths with determination, knowing that by embracing the journey (no matter how long it may take), we can ultimately find success in our endeavors…
…one deliberate stride at a time.