Slow and Steady Wins the Race – Don’t Expand Your Core Too Much Too Soon

Expanding the Core

The last couple of weeks of Sunday Success were devoted to your core interests, first on protecting your core and then on expanding your core.  I mentioned that I’ve had a couple of rough weeks, and the best I could muster was to determine my most critical interests (my core) and to devote what energy I had to protecting that. As things got better, I was able to turn once again to new areas, and to expand my core interests into them.

The last thing I want to say on this topic is to remember Aesop’s fable of the tortoise and the hare.

I’m sure that you haven’t all read Aesop’s Fables. Hell, in this day and age, I’m sure most of you haven’t even heard of Aesop’s fables, much less read them. What I am sure of, is that you’ve heard of the tortoise and the hare, and the moral of the story:

Slow and steady wins the race.

As with many of life’s great lessons, the aphorism itself is hard to understand without knowing the story behind it.

Remember what happened to the rabbit. In full confidence of victory, he raced ahead so far, so fast, that he lost sight of the tortoise behind. Knowing himself to be far ahead, and a much faster runner, he lost focus on the race and went off to pursue other things. Meantime the tortoise plodded along, completely focussed on doing what he was doing. In due course, the tortoise crossed the finish line while the rabbit was off napping.

This a perfect summation of a number of the principles of success that I have been droning on about.

  • Systems vs goals. The rabbit had a goal but no system. The tortoise had a system that took him to the goal
  • Talent vs work. The rabbit is undoubtedly a faster runner, but he didn’t put in the work necessary to win the race.
  • Maintain your focus. The rabbit lost sight of the race, the tortoise never did.
  • Protect the core. The rabbit was off doing other tasks, while the tortoise did but one. In other words, the tortoise protected his core.

And this is why, when you expand your core, you must do so carefully and in a controlled manner. Each thing you consider to be core must move along a development path from something you do deliberately, to something you do habitually, to something you do reflexively and finally to something you do because it is a part of your identity.

Aside: This last paragraph could be expanded from throwaway paragraph in an essay on the web to 5 part, thousand dollar course. There is a tremendous amount to unpack there. Maybe I’ll do that another time.

Anyway, it is important to understand that your core interests are part of your identity. Remember what I said was mine: caring for my family. My job, that thing I do every day, is the thing I do to support my core.

Adding my daily writing to it, and being able to maintain it through the depths of depression, tells me I have (or I very nearly have) added fitness and well-being writer to my core. My daily writing has moved from step one, doing it deliberately, to at least step two, doing it habitually, and perhaps step three, doing it reflexively.

Knowing that, I can now begin to add something new to the core. I’ve got a couple of irons in that fire (and have mentioned them in the recent past) and will continue working on them to see which one is next.

So here I ask, again, what is your core?

What can you add to your core?

How can you add it, while maintaining focus on your core.