What the Turtle Can Teach

At some point, most of us have heard the old story of the tortoise and the hare. As the story goes, these two very different and uniquely gifted animals set off on a race. The hare, or the rabbit, full of confidence and speed, is the expected winner. But as the story unfolds, we discover the determination of the tortoise, or turtle, results in him becoming the ultimate champion. It’s where we get the phrase, “slow and steady wins the race.” There are several things we can learn from our old friend, the turtle in this classic story of a race well won.

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The Stick and The Carrot

An old research study posed that motivation is a balance between reward and punishment. It was based on the scenario of riding a donkey. If the rider wanted the animal to “go,” they needed to prompt the action by placing a carrot just outside the donkey’s reach. This would hopefully nudge the little guy forward. If the donkey didn’t comply, the stick could then be used to give a stern poke as physical motivation. Ouch!

While the carrot and stick theory is outdated, there are still some truths that remain. Let’s examine what we can learn from this motivational technique when it come to studying for and obtaining your HSE credential.

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Be a Planner

In a previous post, Are You a Crammer? We looked at the way in which packing for a big trip is similar to studying for your HSE exam. Some are “crammers” who for whatever reason (or a number of factors) wait until the last minute to get ready to go. Others are planners… the precious few who map out a solid plan for readiness and success. In other words, they pack their mental bags with the skills and tools needed to succeed.

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Run with Your Eye on Your Why

In continuing our discussion on the common factors between marathon runners and those pursuing their HSE credential, I’d like to share a story. But first, let me give a little background info.

My experience in managing runners came during the time I spent working for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Their Team-in Training program was set-up to provide marathon hopefuls with training resources, event selection, registration, and motivational tools. In exchange, runners would commit to raising a certain amount of money above and beyond their travel fees to help fund research and patient care for the society. It’s a wonderful program and a win-win all around!

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Marathon Training

In a former chapter of life, I managed marathon runners. I’d set them up with a trainer and motivational resources. I’d even coordinate their travel. When the big day came, I’d accompany “my runners” to the starting line, check on them throughout, and pick them up at the finish.

As my life took shape and I fell in love with all things education and teaching, I can now look back on those days and find amazingly similar comparisons between my runners and my students.

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