Why Tortoise Beats Hare: The Advantages of Gradual Success

Have you ever been asked how you accomplished something and answered, “I don´t know, it must have been luck!”

I haven’t.

Why? Because every time I’ve accomplished anything I’ve put in the hours, dealt with rejection, re-strategized and put in more hours before crossing the finish line.

And if I had to, I´d do it again.

I’ve never had a fluke. Thus, getting paid to publish fiction and winning a literary prize have been cause for ridiculous personal fanfare.

My husband is a Colombian television director who produces, publishes and releases stuff all the time. But when I get something out into the world I run up to him with torrential pride and say, “Anything you can do I can do slower.

That´s right, not only does it take me forever to write fiction, but I´m proud of it!

Upon reflection I came up with three reasons why the slow road to success is ten times as sweet.

1. Repeatability

Gradual success makes you acutely aware of the process, which means if you were asked to do it again, you could. Which is a big part of the reason I started this blog in the first place. When you put so much conscious learning into something, you want to put it to some practical use.

2. Humility

This one might not feel so great when you´re going through it, but the fact is humility is a powerful connecting force. Humility makes you approachable and draws people close while arrogance pushes people away. In the end humility is a huge advantage. Everyone prefers to work with humble professionals. Paradoxically, it's just a faster way to learn what life has to teach.

3. Inevitability

When you´re in it for the long hall, you reach a certain tipping point where no matter what it takes you´re going to go through with it. This should help ease your doubt, because at that point you are the one in control of your dreams.

The next time you get jealous about an “overnight success,” stop. Even when you do hear about someone´s instant fame, chances are they’ve already put in their 10K hours. So do yourself a favor and repeat, “Anything you can do I can do slower.” Then get back to work.

If you're like me, and prefer the slow and steady route, incorporate that phrase as a mantra your writing practice. Take pride in your pace. The craziest thing thing will happen as a result: You'll relax, have fun and ironically, your success will start to speed up!

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