Complacency Costs: The story is told that one day the wise and learned old Tortoise challenged Hare to a race. Now, this would not normally be much of a race, as a hare can, obviously, outrun a tortoise. But, as I’ve already said, Tortoise was a very wise and learned fellow and, although he knew that Hare could easily outrun him, he also knew Hare to be a very complacent chap. Upon hearing the challenge Hare fell about laughing but then, eventually – after realising that Tortoise was serious – he accepted.

The route was decided and the first to the finishing post was to be the winner. When the starter sounded Hare set off at a roaring pace and left Tortoise still standing in the blocks. After about a mile, Hare looked over his shoulder, but Tortoise was nowhere to be seen. Hare smiled to himself. It was a hot summers day, so he decided to stop and rest for a while under the shade of an old oak tree. Hare, knowing the race was as good as won, and feeling more than a little self-satisfied, decided to take a nap.

Meanwhile, Tortoise plodded on and on. By and by, he came across Hare, who was now fast asleep in the shade of the big oak tree, and, without making a fuss, he quietly passed him by. When eventually Hare woke up, the sun was beginning to set. He became alarmed at how long he must have slept for, and wondered if Tortoise had overtaken him without him knowing about it. At full pace, Hare set off again and headed towards the finish, but as soon as the winning post came into view he saw Tortoise ambling across the line to win the race.

And the moral of this tale once again, is that if we become over confident and too self-assured we can also become too blasé, too casual, too relaxed which is to say that we enter, not so much the comfort zone but the danger zone!

R. Ian Seymour, excerpt from Maximize Your Potential