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It is not uncommon that those who prefer to work or learn in a solid and therefore usually slow way are being called as stubborn, and those in a fast-pacing but non-solid way as smart. I wonder how you would express such phenomenon? Does English have some words and/or fixed phrases for this purpose? Thanks!

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5 Answers 5

This seems like a description of the tortoise and the hare. The 'problem', from your point of view, is that the tortoise won the race, and so showed the superiority of working slowly but doggedly.

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Would 'A rolling stone catches no moss' suffice for you? An accepted interpretation for the saying is that mobility prevents stagnation and seems to be apt for the situation that you describe.

If you want to praise people who are meticulous, there is 'Slow and steady wins the race'.

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Thanks! Is there some saying that sarcastically describe the phenomenon? Because I don't agree with such phenomenon. –  Tim Feb 21 '12 at 1:42
    
Rolling stone s gather no moss. –  Kris Feb 21 '12 at 6:05
    
-1 for the "rolling stone" adage, which has no connection with OP's context (the other one is apposite, though). –  FumbleFingers Feb 21 '12 at 13:07
    
-1 for the same reason as @FumbleFingers - "A rolling stone gathers no moss" pertains to a quite different situation. –  slim Feb 21 '12 at 14:54

Fast and non-solid may be called error-prone.

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Thanks! It takes one a strong mind to stick to his own principle despite others' opinions. –  Tim Feb 21 '12 at 2:09
    
Slow and non-solid may also be called error-prone. "Error-prone" tells us nothing about speed or cause. Only about susceptibility to errors. –  slim Feb 21 '12 at 14:16

"Stolid" comes to mind as a word for the first type of person, though it doesn't apply to work per se, more attitude. Also "phlegmatic".

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I think systematic, "methodical, regular and orderly" and intuitive, "spontaneous, without requiring conscious thought" are perhaps more appropriate than stubborn and smart.

Note, stolid connotes stupid, and phlegmatic connotes both sluggish and unemotional, rather than suggesting the "solid and slow way" you mention in the question.

The term dianoetic has sense "proceeding to a conclusion by reason or argument rather than intuition" in some dictionaries, and as etymonline notes, is supposed to be the word from which L. Ron Hubbard coined dianetics, ca. 1950. Other than that it's a fine but obscure word to express use of systematic instead of intuitional methods.

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