The proverbial race between the tortoise and the hare ends with the tortoise winning every time. The hare thinks the tortoise racing him is an insult and out-distances him within seconds. Seeing that the tortoise is far, far behind, he decides to take a nap and finish the race later. Of course, the tortoise is super slow, just a little faster than the sloth, and there is no way it could beat the hare in a race.
But it does.
The hare wakes up far, far behind, and saw the tortoise crossing the finishing line. That’s exactly what the Taliban did to the US in Afghanistan. After 20 years of occupying the Middle East country, training their soldiers and security personnel, the Taliban took less than a week to retake the country as the US and allies withdrew.
Their success wasn’t one week in the making. It took 20 years. They were the tortoise. They knew that no matter how long and fast the US runs, she will pull out eventually, she will take a nap. And they were behind the scenes, lying low, preparing for that moment in time, and then the opportunity presents itself.
Nobody plays the long game better than religious fanatics. They can be as patient as God, as implacable as the Devil, and as obstructive as resistance. Resistance, here, is the force that opposes progress, fears civilization, and leaves no room for compromise. The world, to them, is either black or white. No greys. No shades.
Moral of the story?
You are better off doing things for yourself than letting others do them for you. Learn how to. Learn from others. Let them guide you, but at a point in time you need to take responsibility for yourself. Don’t be a baby forever. No mentor’s got time to babysit you forever. Afghanistan can only be freed by Afghans. Your success is solely dependant on you.
Another thing about the hare is that it’s very excitable, very easily distracted, and doesn’t live long. Their life span ranges between 18 months and 5 years. The tortoise, on the other hand, take things as they come, adjusts accordingly, and can live long enough to celebrate its 150th birthday.
The race the tortoise wins every time is the race of life. Life is a marathon, not a 100-meter dash. You need to be both the hare and the tortoise to win at it.
Let’s do this.
By Stan Dugah