It Does not Matter How Slowly you Go as Long as You Do Not Stop

Picture this: you’ve set a lofty goal for yourself. Maybe it’s mastering a new language, or training for a marathon, or finally starting that business you’ve always dreamed about. In those exciting first few days, motivation blazes inside you. But life happens. Work gets demanding, unexpected hurdles appear, or doubt worms its way into your mind. That initial rush of inspiration fades, and it feels like all your progress has slowed to a snail’s pace. That’s when we need the wisdom of Confucius to pull us through.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” Confucius, the esteemed Chinese philosopher, believed in the power of persistence. This simple, timeless quote holds immense power, especially in the modern world of instant gratification and unrealistic expectations.

Why It Matters in Our Everyday Lives

Life’s journey isn’t a sprint, it’s a winding, unpredictable path. We often underestimate how long it takes to create meaningful change or achieve difficult goals. It’s the consistency that unlocks our potential, not bursts of unsustainable efforts followed by burnout and inaction.

Imagine someone trying to build those coveted strong muscles— they can’t get the body or skills they want solely with one frenzied day at the gym. Similarly, building a strong relationship, a deep understanding of a subject, or a business that endures takes steady, reliable effort over time.

When to Use This Quote (And When Not to!)

Confucius’ quote serves as a beacon of encouragement. Use it when you need that motivational fire, that boost reminding you that even tiny steps matter when compounded over time. It’s perfect for encouraging others who might be feeling stuck or disheartened by slow progress.

However, it’s not a blanket justification for laziness or endless procrastination. This quote works best when coupled with realistic goal-setting and steady action, however small. There are certainly times when changing course or stepping away from a goal completely is a wise decision. The trick is to know when slow progress is simply part of a long game, and when it’s your intuition signaling that another path would be more fruitful.

Beyond Confucius

The concept of steady progress echoes throughout history. In Aesop’s classic fable “The Tortoise and the Hare,” we see slow and steady win the race. Decades later, the Roman poet Ovid reminds us with the words, “Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence.” It’s a universal lesson, woven into the very fabric of human experience.


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<a href="" target="_self">Danny Ballan</a>

Danny Ballan


Danny is a podcaster, teacher, and writer. He worked in educational technology for over a decade. He creates daily podcasts, online courses, educational videos, educational games, and he also writes poetry, novels and music.

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