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Animals, masters of their soft skills: episode 3/4

“She hastens with slowness.”

The Hare and the Tortoise – Jean de La Fontaine

This week we are going to take time. We are going to be inspired by the tortoise. Have you too always been surprised by this famous fable by La Fontaine? How can a slow tortoise win a race against the hare, the ace of speed? Simply by his perseverance! Without redoing an entire essay, this fable puts vanity and perseverance in opposition. With it, despite certain obstacles, we have all the tools to carry out our projects.

So why the turtle to illustrate our point this week? In many cultures, the turtle has a very strong symbolism. China, India, the Americas and Africa: it is a symbol of peace, longevity and wisdom. The turtle is in the common imagination the animal of perseverance, slow but reaching its goal. So why not be inspired by it?

As usual, let’s make a definition point. Perseverance comes from the verb persevere:

Persevere

(Latin perseverare) To remain firm and constant in a feeling.

Perseverance is a positive skill that often speaks volumes about a person. This soft skill goes hand in hand with a combative, enduring, patient state of mind that knows how to hold on in the long term. Personally, I always imagine persevering people on boats in the middle of a storm who manage to get out of it despite the winds and tides. There is this quote from Adrien Decourcelle that is very revealing & inspiring:

“Perseverance is the nobility of obstinacy.”

Perseverance is the virtuous skill that will make us determined, patient & all-rounders. This can be useful in a professional context as well as in a personal one.

Perseverance is also the ability to face the small annoyances of life. However, it is not only about being confident and not giving up easily. Perseverance is also about determination and the ability and desire to learn new things. It is a spirit of personal growth. Learning to persevere in the face of obstacles is a real asset in today’s job market. Perseverance, in work and in life, leads to success.

🐢 The turtle, a symbol of perseverance

Whether domestic or wild, on land or in the sea (not yet in the air) the turtle is drawing sympathy. The terrestrial turtle exists since at least 225 million years. Each turtle can have an exceptional longevity up to 150 years for the giant turtles of the Galapagos and the Seychelles, that leaves you amazed, no? They teach us patience & determination to continue to move forward on our path despite the obstacles, to have confidence and to persevere in the long run. According to the dictionary of symbols by Alain Gheerbrant, anthropologist and poet, the turtle, symbol of perseverance and wisdom, is also that of Mother Earth herself. The turtle is the representation of the universe, the bearer of the world and of humanity.

In pop culture, turtles are often portrayed as the wise ones, who teach (you too see “The Great Oogway Master”? no? no one has the reference of Kung-Fu Panda?), zen and tough despite the whirlwinds of life (there you see Crush? in Nemo? still not?). They are the ones who are always present, who carry the wisdom of the world and guide us towards a certain stability.

🐢 How do we become true turtles?

Without becoming Mother Earth ourselves, today’s topic invites us to reflect. For it is a vast question to become like a turtle, how do we take time in a world that goes ever faster and where distractions are omnipresent? It is an ambitious project to become real turtles because perseverance nowadays is hard to keep. How can we endure all the hassles of everyday life and not lose our initial path? Simply by taking example. Let’s be slow, let’s be patient, isn’t it said that “everything comes to him who waits”? It is essential to do this exercise of endurance & perseverance. This can only be positive in our daily lives.

To take the time, it is essential to refocus our priorities and objectives. Like the turtle, let’s find our harmony in the slowness. Step by step in our projects, let’s stay focused and not worry about obstacles.

🐢 Being a turtle in business?

Why is perseverance an important soft in business? Because it’s essential to stay committed to the goals you’ve set for yourself. You can compare it to a form of endurance that allows you to continue a project or activity for months on end. Patience is often required.

Top athletes train long hours, repeating the same movement over and over again to achieve perfection. And when they enter the stadium, they concentrate on living up to their reputation. The same is true for every profession: improvising is the shortest path to failure, if you haven’t spent long hours practicing beforehand.

Consistency and tenacity in an action are often a guarantee of performance. Despite the obstacles, it is important to remain committed and focused, like a soccer team playing a game every week. Discouragement should not overwhelm us. When we face certain difficulties, we must know how to redouble our efforts and perseverance to succeed.

Moreover, perseverance is the essential soft for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is not a long quiet river, it is not enough today only of great ideas and ideals: the entrepreneur 2.0 is a marathon runner. It requires determination and discipline. Having perseverance helps you stick to your principles day after day, year after year. Rome wasn’t built in a day & nobody becomes Google or Amazon on the first try!

🐢 The checklist for becoming a turtle:

✅Work on your patience & determination

✅Know how to step back & slow down the pace

✅Be creative in solving obstacles

✅Repeat as a mantra: “To each day its own.”

To close out this week’s topic, simply relearn to take time, focus on what’s important & find your strength in the goals you set for yourself. One last time, let us be inspired by our dear Jean de La Fontaine:

“There is no use in running; you must start on time.”

The Hare and the Tortoise

Sources:

  • Les Echos (www.lesechos.fr)
  • The Fables – Jean de La Fontaine
  • Se Relaxer (serelaxer.fr)
  • Wiki Pme (blog.wikipme.fr)