16 May Rewrite your story to see a different outcome and accept people are different
How many books have you read that have a hidden moral meaning and really get you thinking about the way you live your life, or make you reflect on things that have happened?
Storytelling is such a powerful tool when it comes to understanding different situations and behaviours.
Take the story of The Hare and The Tortoise. In this one of Aesop’s Fables the hare is speedy and runs fast, all the time. He has one pace – a million miles an hour. You could describe the hare as impatient, impetuous and spontaneous – he has an idea and he runs with it, maybe before even thinking it through. Does that sound like you or anyone you know?
We might all go at different speeds and sometimes must stop to help others catch up but that doesn’t make people better or worse, we still get the same outcome in the end.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” Lao Tzu
Running the fastest race
In The Hare and The Tortoise, the tortoise challenged the hare to a race after being mocked for his pace. Amused by the tortoise, the hare agreed and quickly lost sight of the tortoise. To ridicule the tortoise, the hare lay down for a nap. Yet when the tortoise passed, he failed to wake and was unable to catch the slower competitor and lost the race.
The tale states: “The moral of the story: the race is not always to the swift.”
Rewrite your story: It’s ok to be different
In other words, if you’re fast and too cocky you’ll do stupid things in your arrogance, get beaten and feel humiliated. Just because you’re fast doesn’t mean you’ll win and just because you’re slow doesn’t mean you’ll lose. Being fast does not make you better and being slow does not mean you’re worse.
This fable may be a lesson that it’s OK to be different and not just because you might be someone who likes to take their time and savour each step.
Because you like to take it easy and plan your journeys, that does not make you a loser. Instead, the fact that you keep your eyes on the prize and head towards it steadily means you’re able to go the distance, instead of shining brightly and fizzling out. That can be seen as a great gift.
“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” Mahatma Gandhi
Understand there is always more than one option
The tale could also remind us that we have options. Living life in the fast lane may be exciting but it is important to know this is a choice and there is another option. It is not the ‘only’ way or the ‘best’ way, but a different way. Living life at a fast pace you can appreciate the thrill of constant momentum, but also find time to appreciate a laid back approach where you can chill out and take things slowly. You don’t need to feel it’s all or nothing, instead enjoy contrasting approaches and dip in and out of a faster and slower pace of life.
Remember to accept that other people are different because they choose to be. Too often runners get impatient with those moving at a slower pace, while those taking their time get frustrated at people in a rush. This can too often end in an argument or people making harsh judgements as they defend their own ways of doing things.
“People hasten to judge in order not to be judged themselves.” Albert Camus, The Fall
Rewrite your story from a different perspective
The story of The Hare and The Tortoise could, of course, have gone very differently, showing what a shift in perspective can achieve.
Maybe like this:
“The hare was admiring the tortoise for being so slow. “Do you ever worry that it takes so long to finish anything?” he asked in a concerned tone. “Yes,” replied the tortoise, “but I get there sooner than you’d think, and I always finish whatever it is that I’m doing. I’ll run you a race to prove it.”
“The hare was curious about that, the idea of running a race with a tortoise was intriguing to him and it sounded like fun, so he agreed. The fox, who had consented to act as a judge, or ‘observer’, marked the distance and started the experiment.
“The hare couldn’t help but zoom off, he loved to run and feel the wind in his hair. He didn’t realise how far he’d gone until he stopped, looked back and realised the tortoise was way out of sight. So he thought, ‘I’ll just sit down for a moment and stop and take in all that’s around me so that I can notice some of these surroundings I’ve always passed so fast. I’ll just sit, have a good look around and take some time to appreciate and be grateful for everything I can and wait for the tortoise’.
“Before he knew it his eyes closed and he fell into a deep gratitude meditation, he never even heard the tortoise as he plodded by and the tortoise didn’t notice the hare as he was so engrossed in enjoying taking in every delicious spot of the journey, taking his time to be grateful for every moment along the way.
“The hare kept meditating and the tortoise kept appreciating, and when the hare opened his eyes, there was a tortoise close to the goal. The hare got up and ran his swiftest, not so he could overtake the tortoise but so that he could be right there with him to celebrate at the finish line. Celebrating that they both got there in their own ways, but they both got there. They both got the prize – the gift of celebrating with each other. Celebrating each other’s strengths, gifts and differences, they high-fived and went off together for some slow cooked fast food.”
The meaning is so different when the same story is written from a different point of view. This is something you can do every day. You can change the narrative and see what a difference it makes. Celebrate your gifts, appreciate the people around you, notice differences but make it right instead of wrong. Rewrite your own story.
“We must rewrite our story from one of fear to one of celebration.” Kameron Hurley, Rapture
Choose the life you want to lead
Instead of judging others for their approach, consider their motivations. Do they just have a different outlook on life? What about yourself? Are you harsh on yourself for being slower at tasks than others? Maybe you are getting more out of it and enjoying the process more.
I would love to read your rewrites so please share them with me or tell me your story in the comments below. Join us at:
Life is not a race, take it at your own speed and accept that everyone is different. Rewrite your story if it helps you to feel better.