No More Races

No More Races

The Hare is genetically designed to speed whereas the Tortoise is not. They are two different animals then why in the first place where they made to run a race? What conclusion was to be drawn from the already obvious conclusion?

It’s very easy to call the Hare complacent, but was he really? Let’s ask the Hare.

Hare: Of course not, I was not complacent, nor was I over confident. In fact, I was confident that this time too like every other time, I would win the race. Then why did I not win this time? The answer is very simple: I let the Tortoise win.

Me: Are you kidding? In a competition who lets the other win?

Hare: Every empathetic being

Me: (I was intrigued by this answer) …Tell me more

Hare: We lived close by so we enjoyed the greens that grew nearby. We would joke, enjoy and play with each other. He was more like a brother to me than a friend.

The Hare continued…

However, the world was not kind enough. They decided to have us compete with each other.

Initially, we did not mind because it seemed fun to run together so we agreed. But when I started winning race after race, everyone applauded me, I could see the Tortoise being ridiculed. There were constant comparisons between me and him. The animals would teach their young ones to be swift as a Hare and not a loser like a Tortoise. Even though I would win, I would not feel a sense of winning as deep down I knew it was not a justified one. I could feel his sadness. Our jokes reduced, our fun time got constrained and our lazing in the grass was filled with tension. Though we were together, there was a huge distance between us. There were many good things about the Tortoise which I loved about him however, the yardstick of clever was always the "race".

Now, instead of enjoying the limelight, I started hating it. I wanted a shell like that of a Tortoise so that I could hide myself in it. I would feel embarrassed whenever someone praised me. It became my nature to shy away from limelight.

So, this time, I wanted to change the game. I wanted to feel the sense of joy in seeing the Tortoise win. I wanted to see the triumph feeling in the Tortoise. Losing one race would not make a difference to me however, it would make a huge difference to the Tortoise.

So, when I stood below the tree, I could see the Tortoise give it all to beat me. He was not being slow and steady; he too was running with all his might to beat me.  I took a step back to help him save his face in this race. Nobody was aware of this, except me (not even the Tortoise). I felt good that I let my friend win. I was being empathetic towards my friend and I loved it.

However, over a period of time, the story changed and I was labelled as “complacent” and “overconfident”.  Though, on one side I liked to see my friend win, but on the other side, I did not like that I was not doing any justice to my potential. It was a constant struggle internally and a dilemma like a double-edged sword between: Feeling embarrassed on winning and feeling bad on losing.

I was being fair to my friend, but was I doing justice to my potential?

To put an end to this legendary struggle, I told my children: “NO More races. If ever you have to compete, compete against your yesterday, your inner struggles, your low self-esteem, your vices. You will be happier and more peaceful”. Let the yardstick of success be decided by YOU and not by the world.

"I won my game when I taught my kids a lesson on being   empathetic towards self too while being empathetic towards others!"

Managing your own needs as well as others is a fine balance and truest intelligence!


1. People suffer not only from Fear of Failure but also from “Fear of Success” as somewhere deep down they feel ‘sorry’/’Guilty” for those who failed/could not make it.

This is exactly what comparison does to most of the kids. The smart kid ends up feeling guilty for being praised when their sibling is being criticized because somewhere there is a deep connection between them. There is love, compassion and togetherness. Children love interdependence and comparison pushes them to be ‘Lonely”. They look for cohesiveness whereas comparison makes them different. When children speak the language of comparison, parents/caregivers feel the child is doing well however, the child is only trying to “Please” the parent. Deep inside they feel a sense of betraying their friends when they do not share knowledge or performance secrets.  This is when you see some smart kids give it all up dramatically be it academically or in life!

Some of the Smart kid’s life gets ruined where they feel they were responsible for their sibling’s struggles in life. This is called Self-Sabotaging your own success! They have ‘fear of success” as they do not feel they deserve it in the first place due to extreme sympathy towards the one who lost.

2. Bring out your true potential. Have a bigger vision

Sometimes you will be the Hare and sometimes Tortoise in life. You will need to learn when to speed and when to take it slow. Learn to take your wins and losses sportingly, don’t let arrogance or sympathy set it. Understand that the person who stood last is as happy as you are. The only difference is that his happiness is for passing the exam whereas yours is for being the first. The intensity of happiness is exactly the same! Life is not a race and you are not responsible for someone’s failure. Learn to look at things objectively (neutrally, being an observer) rather than subjectively (being a part of the drama). When you lose, learn from your mistakes and do not repeat them again. Change your strategy and see what works for you.


3. As parents it is our moral responsibility to raise happy kids and not tense ones.

Stop comparing does not mean stop guiding. Guide them to do better than themselves and to break their own records. Guide them to face their demons. Show them the way to do so. Comparison is a very emotionally illiterate way of handling a situation. Guide them to have healthy Self-Esteem, rest of the things will fall in place. Stop telling them the age-old story of the Hare and the Tortoise! Share this version!

About the Author

Sulochana Amin is a Solopreneur, an OD Consultant, NLP Coach, TA Practitioner, EI Assessor and a practicing psychotherapist. She is also a visiting faculty at N. L. Dalmia College for Human Resources Subject.

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