Thursday, July 19, 2007

When is the right time to sharpen the axe?

Nowadays, due to tight schedule, many even have to bring home their work. To make sure what you do is worthwhile, you ought to learn to pause and reflect on what you're doing and why.

"If something is not worth doing at all, it is not worth doing well." - Warren Buffett

Have you asked yourself this question: How much time have I spent improving my skills?

Abraham Lincoln says "If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend the first four sharpening the axe"

Richard C Miller says "Even if at first you do succeed, you still have to work hard to stay there."

Let's take a look at this story that illustrate this point:

Once upon a time, there was a very strong woodcutter. He asked for a job from a timber merchant, and he got it. The pay was really good and so were the work conditions. For that reason the woodcutter was determined to do his best. His boss gave him an axe and showed him the area where he was supposed to work.

The first day, the woodcutter brought down 18 trees. The Boss was very much impressed and said, "Congratulations keep it up!" Very motivated by the words of the boss, the woodcutter tried harder the next day, but he only could bring down 15 trees. The third day he tried even harder, but he only could bring down 10 trees.

Day after day he was bringing down less and less trees. "I must be losing my strength", the woodcutter thought to himself. He went to the boss and apologized, saying that he could not understand what was going on.

"When was the last time you sharpened your Axe?" the boss asked. "Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my Axe. I have been very busy trying to cut trees."

The moral of the story:

Our lives are like that. We sometimes get so busy that we don't take time to sharpen the axe. In today's world, it seems that everyone is busier than ever, but less happy than ever. Why is that? Could it be that we have forgotten how to stay sharp?

There is nothing wrong with activity and hard work. But we should not get so busy that we neglect the truly important things in life, like our personal life, taking time to care for others, taking time to read, etc.

We all need time to relax, to think and meditate, to learn and grow. If we don't take time to sharpen the axe, we will become dull and lose our effectiveness.

So starting from today, think about the ways by which you could do your job more effectively and add more value to it.

(Source of this story: Internet; Author Unknown)

Photo by Robot Apocalypse taken from this source

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Tom LeDree said...

This is so true. It's so easy to forget the simple but important thing in life. Great post! This is totaly my sort of thing.

Tom LeDree

lilifxt said...

hi sam great post its good reminder to all really more busy ...less happy than ever ...we atleat should try to sharpen our axe before its too late
best wishes

Sam Chan said...

Thanks Tom, for sharing your valuable thoughts.

Your participation is a source of inspiration for me.

Thank you!
Best wishes.

Sam Chan said...

Hi Lili,
You are right... Everybody must try to sharpen their axe before it is too late!

Thanks for your continued support and interest in what I do.

Best Wishes

J@n!ce said...

Sam, this is true in real life.
This is my version of 'sharpening the axe'
In the workforce, we need to polish/upgrade/develop new skills, sign up for courses...etc in order to be justifiable for promotion. If you work so hard, but paper qualification is still the same, it will not bring you any higher.

Learning is a continuous process.

Thanks for the post :)

surjit said...

You have given a great message,Sam Chan:
...'We all need time to relax, to think and meditate, to learn and grow...
Thanks for timely reminder.Good luck.

Sam Chan said...

Hi Janice,
I totally agree with you that "Learning is a continuous process". Whenever one stop learning, he/she start to become obsolete!

Many thanks for adding your insightful thoughts to my post.

Best Wishes

Sam Chan said...

Thanks Surjit!
Let's remind ourselves to take time to relax, to think and meditate, to learn and grow!

When our axe is sharper, we can definitely do a better job!

Thank you for your comment.
Best Wishes

mr fong said...

Ahhh i can't comment,the new algorithm thinks i'm spamming.

I get the meaning,thanks for the insgith.

btw i gotit correct alr!

and i replied your comment,hope you keep reading and keep the visits :D

Sam Chan said...

Hi Mr Fong,

You must be referring to MyBlogLog message limit. Very good.. you got the message (about the future of blogging) clear.

Congratulation for solving the IQ game!

I will be visiting your blog. Helping others helps! :-)

Best Wishes

Jennifer said...

Excellent post Sam!

Thank you for the reminder to step back sometimes, find balance, and sharpen our axe!

blessings to you!


Sam Chan said...

Hi Jennifer,
Indeed, we all need this reminder!
With a sharpened axe, we can cut through all difficulties and obstacles in life.

Thanks for your continuous support. Best wishes.

Christine said...

Great point! And much more poetically put than my grim mutterings of, "I am BUSY, but the world won't come to an end if I go to the gym and meditate a little and write a little before I get back to the daily grind."

Sam Chan said...

Hi Christine,

Thanks for stopping by and giving me your feedback. I really appreciate it.

My best wishes.