Slow And Steady Wins The Race
“It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop” – Confucius
When I was in my early 20’s I fell into the trap that many young people fall into; the got to have it right now mentality. I wanted the high paying job, luxury car, nice clothes, fancy jewelry, exotic vacations and everything else that comes along with being successful. There was only one small problem; I hadn’t actually yet become successful. Unsurprisingly, I did not build up much wealth during those years. It wasn’t until my late 20’s when I finally realized the importance of patience and hard work.
The Tortoise and the Hare
Most of us have probably heard the children’s story about the tortoise and the hare. If not, the story goes as such; there once was a speedy hare who bragged about how fast he could run. Tired of hearing him boast, the tortoise, challenged him to a race. The race begun, and the hare, being such a quick runner, soon left the tortoise far behind. About halfway through the race, it occurred to the hare that he had plenty of time to beat the slow trodden tortoise. He decided to relax and take a nap. The tortoise walked and walked. He never, ever stopped until he came to the finish line. The animals who were watching cheered so loudly for Tortoise, they woke up Hare. Hare quickly got up and began to run again, but it was too late. Tortoise was over the line
Moral of the story: Slow and steady wins the race
While the tortoise and the hare is clearly a fictional story, the ideology behind it is not. I often find myself taking on all of life’s challenges one after another. Sometimes it feels as if my body is going 1,000 mph and I have to remind myself to slow down. Otherwise I know that I will eventually get burnt out and crash. If you work slow but constantly at something you will achieve greater success than if you work fast for only a short while. The same applies to building wealth and financial success. There are no shortcuts. There is no quick and easy path. Let’s take a look at some of the ways we can apply this concept to personal finances.
Advancing In Your Career
When I first graduated college I was super stoked. I was going to get a job in Corporate America where I would be making buku dollars and work my way into a senior management role in no time. Then reality set in and hit me like a ton of bricks. This whole high paying job thing right out of college with zero experience wasn’t as easy as I thought. I ended up taking an entry level position with a great company which I am still with today. Since then I have worked my way up through several promotions. It’s been a slow climb over many years but I finally feel like my career is on the right path. I know many people who are miserable working at jobs they can’t stand. Instead of spending your life being miserable, focus on the end goal and take small steps in that direction, one at a time.
Investing for the Long Haul
Many people wrongfully assume that the key to successful investing is being able to find the next Amazon or Google. Don’t get me wrong, many people have made a lot of money this way. However many people have also made a lot of money playing the lottery. And several others throwing down small fortunes on black at the roulette table. I think you get the picture. This type of investing lends itself to taking on greater risk where the chance of success is greatly stacked against you. The vast majority of people who have built wealth through investing have done it the old fashioned way. Investing small amounts of money consistently into index funds or building a diversified portfolio of dividend yielding large cap stocks. Remember when it comes to investing, it’s a marathon not a sprint. Eventually you will begin to realize the amazing effects of gains and dividends compounding themselves. There is nothing exciting or sexy about this approach but it has proven itself to work time and time again.
Saving and Paying Off Debts A Little Bit At A Time
If you are trying to save or pay off a large amount of money you will most likely feel completely overwhelmed and stressed out. Rather than focusing on that daunting lump sum of money you are trying to come up with, instead focus your energy on smaller weekly or monthly goals. This will make your task seem much more manageable. Those small insignificant amounts of money will add up to large significant amounts of money over time. Each step you take towards your goal puts you one step closer to achieving success.
Winning The Race
Instead of expecting to accomplish everything at once, recognize that meaningful change takes time. The next time you want to accomplish something that seems unachievable just remember the Tortoise. Be patient. Work hard. Don’t give up.
Do you agree that slow and steady is the path to success or did the tortoise just get lucky?