The Hare and The Tortoise

“Experience is the worst teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.” — Vernon Law

As we’ve all heard the tale of the Hare and the Tortoise. They go for a race. The hare sprints, but the tortoise moves at its own pace, very slowly. Seeing how far the hare has come, the hare takes a rest. The hare dozed off into sleep due to fatigue and the tortoise continues the race, winning the game slow and steady.

I used to hate this story. I wondered why the fuck did hare take a nap before finishing the race. Had the hare only finished the race and won, we wouldn’t have to listen to this stupid story.

It turns out the story had successfully delivered its moral. But it was me who didn’t comprehend the real meaning behind it. I am sure you must be thinking “I know the morale of the story. It’s slow and steady wins the race cliche.”

No. That’s not it. The hare and the Tortoise had always been the same. Heck, they are still in a race within you. They are the two systems of thinking we use to make decisions in our life.

Before we take this discussion any further, it is important to realize the difference between thought and thinking.

A thought is a step. It lives in a moment of time. It can be about the weather or a project. But just a thought. The end.

Thinking on the other hand is a process, like walking. It is the series of thoughts that follows each consecutive thought. It can be you were thinking about your pant, then realized you need new pants for a party, the party of a friend you don’t want to go to because you have a project due. If you do not finish your monthly reviews….

You get the point.

In his book, Thinking fast and slow, Kahneman introduces two systems of thinking.

System 1:

Fast thinking. It needs to make decisions quickly. For example: if you see a lion approaching, you run the other way around. You do not think about a quote from the bible verse, “You are a lion.” and start charging towards it. This type of thinking has intuition and gut feelings engaged that warns you of impending danger. It needs to decide and finish the race quickly.

System 2:

Slow Thinking. Just like the tortoise, this system moves at its own pace. Analyzing and interpreting the current data with the type of mental models trained by the thinker. It will take time for it to make a conclusion. For example: Before buying a house, you need to think about the interest rates, property tax, broker fee, 20% down payment, home insurance, mortgage insurance, etc. It needs to take time to make the decision.

So what is the big deal about this system 1 and system 2 thinking? And what’s with the hare and the tortoise analogy? What does it have to do with me?

In every instance of our life, we make decisions. We do this or that, We choose this or that. And the environment in which we need to make decision changes. In some instances, we need to deploy a fast reactionary decision and in some, we need to make a slow consideration of options and the next course of action and its consequences.

My take on it is, “Am I aware of this difference?” For example, I meet a nice girl do I wait to ask her out and lose the momentum or do I introduce myself and engage in a conversation to ask her out for a date? I want to start a business. Do I register and make the tax ID on impulse or do I wait and test the validity of the business and the business model first?

Now my job was to introduce you to as many tools as possible, to give you optionality. How you deploy it, is your business. I am happy with my set of tools.

This is my wish & my blessing, may you find who you truly are & express it to the world.

Lots of Love, Chao.

Among the infinite Wisdom, I am lost. An admirer of knowledge & Virtue, a lover of curiosity. Part-Time Barbarian.