I was once told a story, about a man who was employed to cut down trees. Eager to prove himself, the man reported for duty on time and was well equipped with a new axe. On his first day the man impressively cut down 20 trees, which really impressed his boss. This man had surely done better than expectation.
But things began spiraling down the next day. The man could only cut 15 trees, Then the next day he managed to cut only 12 trees. By the end of the week, this man could barely cut down 10 trees. So ultimately, the boss calls for him so he could find out what is it that causes the decline of his results.
As the man comes into the office, he is prepared to defend his cause and mention of how much he gave his best, but the boss picked his head up and asks;
“Since cutting 20 trees, when last did you sharpen your axe?”
The story ends as soon as the man realizes that, he never did sharpen his axe.
When pondering on this story it is amazing just how much of it reflects on so many instances of one’s life. There are times when we are found giving so much efforts and still fall short of being as effective and successful as we so often know we can be. Be it in our careers, studies, or even in our relation with others. We push so hard and exert ourselves hoping to yield the best results, yet collapse in disappointment when the results prove otherwise. So, let me ask you. ”When last did you sharpen your axe?”
Of course, i am sure most of us are not interested in cutting down any trees, which points us away from refering to a real axe. But when last did you sharpen the best parts of yourself? When last did you put the time in to celebrate that which you are good at and hone your abilities? When last did you pay attention to the attributes, qualities and tools you know you have?
Too many times we aimlessly lunge ourselves at the hard realities of life, giving no second thought as to how blunt we've become after each life's collisions. And truth is, the blunter we are, the less effective we are, the less productive we become.
Take time away from the busyness of life to trying and sharpen yourself. Appreciate what is there in you. Discover it anew and own it. Remove and brush away the debris of yesterday’s labor, iron out the wrinkles of yesterday’s wrestle and file smooth the chirps of yesterday’s battles.
Stay sharp and slay!