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Sunday, April 29, 2012


Chennai Speakers Forum
Project # 6

Toastmasters – We all know the story of the hare and the tortoise, don’t we? How many of you think that the moral of the story is “Slow and steady wins the race”? But what If I told you that is not the only moral of the story?Do you  know what happened after the race? Do you want to know that?[Expecting a response]

IMAGINE - you were at the finish line of that race. The hare came whooshing past, smiling  and sweating, staggering and swaggering at having surely won the race , can you imagine what would have been the look on his face when he saw the tortoise sitting there chewing green cabbage?

He was baffled, confused and thought he was having hallucinations. But after having a carrot and still seeing the tortoise patiently chewing away decided he indeed had lost.

He went up to the tortoise and with great sportsmanship said “So you have won, fair and square. Congratulations. I should not have been overconfident and should not have taken the nap. What do you think?”

The tortoise, weary after the long race, smiled feebly and said “Thank you. Yes you were over confident and should not have taken the nap. But I think there was a way we both could have won.”

The hare astonished remarked “We, both, win. Then who loses?”

By this time a small crowd had gathered around.

The cow exclaimed “Ooooooooooo... how is that possible?”
The goat said “meeeeehhhhh, Impossible”.
The donkey started laughing “ heeeee haw heee haw, The tortoise has gone mad”.

Amid this entire din, the tortoise smiled and said “We all believe a race is to be won by a single person. All the others lose. That basically is what you define as a race. You ‘PUSH’ yourself forward to be the first. But think what would have happened if the hare had taken me on his back and we both had crossed the line together, or if I had woken up the hare on seeing him sleeping? “

The crowd murmured...”Oh what a brilliant idea ... why didn’t we think of it.... the tortoise makes no sense...told you.. he is as dumb as a dormouse.” The hare was intently looking at the tortoise and trying to figure out the meaning of the words. 
He slowly nodded his head in agreement and said “Oh wise tortoise, what you say makes sense and I now see how foolish I was to ‘race’ against you. Life is a race only because people are PUSHing themselves. We never stop and see who is lagging behind and never ever try to PULL them up so that we together can enjoy the benefits.” 

The crowd was stunned; silence was reigning supreme as each one tried to figure out the implications and impact of these words. The cow stopped chewing cuds, the goat stopped braiding his “goatee” and the donkey as usual was “dumb”struck.

The tortoise with a contented smile on his face said. “In life we all have a choice, that of Push vs Pull. Performance vs Progress... Activities vs. Accomplishments. Many of us always chose the former. We always push for performing better which is why we enter into a race. All we hear is that Life is a Rat Race. No offence to you dear rat. But for how long do you run? Forever?  How many of us have ever stopped , looked back, saw people lagging behind , went back, pulled them up and progressed together towards the goal.  One complements the other , each pulls the other along . The progress may be slow, but it is a progress nonetheless. This way we all benefit and we all share our progress.

Life then would not be a race but a GRACE

With that ... the tortoise entered his shell and went to sleep.

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.

Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be.

And that Toastmasters is the moral of the story.

Oh ! I still have a few minutes time... Do you know what happened after the all the rats had jumped into the sea by the song of the pied piper? [No....?]   They all died....

Thank you.

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