Russian Proverb about Driving Slowly

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Russian-Jewish
Age: 53
Occupation: Mathematician
Residence: Santa Barbara, California
Date of Performance/Collection: March 11, 2012
Primary Language: Russian
Other Language(s): English, Hebrew

“Driving slower, you will advance further.”

Transliteration: “Tishe edesh – dalshe budesh.”

Q. What does this proverb mean?

A. The meaning is that if you do things slower, you will get further. It’s like saying, “Wait a minute, don’t hurry.” My brother would always say this, for instance, if I did a math problem and wanted to skip steps—if you do everything slower, part by part, you will do better in the end.

This proverb has an English analogue: “Slow and steady wins the race.” Yet, comparing these two versions, we can see that the American version has a much more competitive spirit than the Russian version, as it focuses upon winning. According to my informant, the Russian version refers to riding a horse; if one rides a horse too fast, the horse may become fatigued or sustain an injury. Thus, the Russian proverb focuses not upon winning, but rather upon not losing, not overtiring one’s horse.

Annotation: Writer Mikhail Zeldovich utilizes this proverb in an article concerning Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), commenting upon Russia’s slow, snail-paced progress of accession to the organization:

Zeldovich, Mikhail. “Slowly Going Nowhere: Russia’s Entry to the WTO Falters as Major Exporters Fight Shy of Membership.” The Russia Journal, 19 Nov. 2002. Web. 26 April 2012. <http://russiajournal.com/node/12071>.