Shortly after leaving the home of his youth to make his own way in the world, a very strong woodcutter asked a timber merchant for a job. After sizing the lad up, he offered him the position. The pay was quite good and so were the benefits. For that reason, the woodcutter was determined to do his best.
The following morning 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.
“Congratulations,” the boss said. “Go on that way and keep up the good work!”
Very motivated for the boss’ words, the woodcutter tried harder the next day but he only brought down 15 trees.
The third day he tried even harder, but he only could bring down 10 trees.
And it carried on, day after day, that he was bringing down less and less. He was putting in more effort with fewer results.
“I must be losing my strength!” the woodcutter mused. Concerned by his progress, he went to the timber merchant and apologized, saying that he could not understand what was going on.
With a small smile sneaking across his lips, the boss asked, “When was the last time you sharpened your axe?”
The woodcutter, seeming stunned, answered “Sharpen? I’ve had no time to sharpen my axe! I have been very busy trying to cut down trees…”
Monday Morning Perspective
“As irrigators lead water where they want, as archers make their arrows straight, as carpenters carve wood, the wise shape their minds.” – Buddha
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln
It’s often very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks that we must accomplish in our personal and work lives. We jump from task to task without a thought to the bigger picture.
The danger lies in ignoring the time we must invest in our own self-development and in the improvement of the people and processes around us. When we’re bogged down in minutiae of the present, we are robbed of the ability to improve the prospects in our future.
If you want tomorrow to be more successful than today, you have to take the time required to make a concerted effort to improve yourself and the things around you. Otherwise, for all of your hard work and dedication, you’ll be just another “dull axe”.
How will you sharpen your axe?
Have a wonderful week and Happy Sharpening!
@Professional Coaching Consultants, LLC 2012.
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