Doe Deere Blogazine

Tales of the Unicorn Queen

The Snail’s Climb.

Category Letters from Readers


Img: The Telegraph

Meg asked: “I know that there are probably a thousand and one influences that made you the person you are today. But who would you say has inspired you the most in the pursuit of your dreams?”


I like snails. Snails are my favorite. I think they are beautiful and resilient, and it’s no coincidence that it’s this creature that taught me to keep going until I reached my goal.

When I was 10 years old I found myself solving a mathematical problem. I don’t remember the exact details, but it went something like this:

A snail climbs up a pole at the speed of 1 inch per hour, for 14 hours a day. During the night, it slides back 5 inches. How long will it take the snail to climb up a 5 foot pole?

Upon reading it, I immediately felt bad for the snail. It works really hard for those measly 14 inches, but when it snoozes, it looses — literally. It seemed terribly unfair! But as I got deeper into the problem, I’ve discovered that in spite of the nightly setbacks the snail gains the next day — and the next day – as long as it keeps climbing. Moreover, if my calculations were correct, the snail does eventually reach the top!

There it was. I may not have been a math wiz, but I understood life and the story of the snail really stuck with me. Sometimes, when I’m up against a big challenge, I imagine myself as that snail, climbing upwards. In that moment I know that in spite of all the mistakes and slip-ups, obstacles and set-backs, I will eventually reach my goal if I just… keep… going.

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