Soon after we finished our meal, Dharma asked me if I was familiar with the fable "The Tortoise and the Hare." I nodded my head, but wondered why he was asking me about those two particular critters, especially since neither one is amphibian. "In that story, Tadpole, the tortoise wins the race even though he is much slower than the hare. We can take this lesson one step further and say that a frog on the move does more than the dozing ox. Do you understand what I'm getting at?" "I think so," I replied, "size and strength aren't as important as persistence when it comes to getting things done." Dharma smiled. I could tell he was happy with my answer. "The value of dogged persistence is often underrated. Tough times come and go and we all encounter many obstacles throughout our life, but frogs (and humans) who brush it off and keep going will succeed in the end. My boy, we frogs are some of the smallest animals and we're not known for having incredible strength, yet we manage to accomplish much. The ox may be big and he may be powerful, but if he constantly stops to rest he will accomplish very little."
I thought about this and how it applied to my own life. There have been many times when I've been tasked to do something that seemed impossible but by putting one flipper in front of the other, I somehow managed to get the job done. Achieving success in anything requires continual effort. Coming up with creative solutions for our problems can be a far more valuable asset than just strength alone.
I was was once referred to as a "workhorse" by one of my employers. At the time, I thought it was kind of an insult, but I what I now realize is that is was a back-handed compliment. I might not have been the smartest worker, or even the most productive, but I was persistent. I plodded along, every day, doing the best job I could. I was a consistent employee and he knew he could count on me to finish the job. My co-works would often work like crazy for a day, or two then, like the dozing ox, would take a break. Meanwhile, I kept working at a slower but steady pace. And guess who ended up generating the most income for the company. Me! I was valued for my persistence.
Dharma's lesson today wasn't anything new or even terribly insightful, but it was a good reminder that slow and steady wins the race. Success in life isn't about the destination, it's about the journey. And persistence is what keeps you moving along your path.