Happy Monday. Have you ever been too busy to stop and get gas? How did that work out for you?
As we start the week, can you relate to this story:
Once upon a time, there was a strong, ambitious young woodcutter who needed work. She traveled to the nearest timber merchant and asked if she could secure a job. The timber merchant could sense the woman was a hard worker and decided to give her an opportunity. “Meet me here tomorrow at daybreak,” the merchant said.
The young woman arrived the next morning where the merchant led her to a dense patch of trees in the nearby forest. “Chop down as many trees as you can today and meet me just before sunset.” The young woman chopped down 18 trees that day. The merchant was impressed. “Well done!” he said, “You are the best woodcutter we have!”
The next day the young woman returned, feeling even more motivated. Her muscles were sore but her ambition was strong. She chopped down 15 trees the second day. On the third day, the young woman arrived before daybreak and stayed until she could barely see the tree she was chopping down. She cut down only 9 trees that day. This pattern continued over the coming week.
“I must be losing my strength,” the young woman thought to herself.
The next week her boss met her in the early morning hours and told her she was fired. The young woman was upset and scared about her future. But she knew she worked as hard as she could and just didn’t have enough time to chop more trees. Her head hanging low, she handed her axe back to the timber merchant. The merchant took one look at the axe and said, “When was the last time you sharpened your axe?” “Sharpen my axe?” the young woman replied, “I’ve been too busy trying to cut down enough trees to sharpen my axe.”
I’m curious… can you relate? If so, how can you sharpen your axe this week? Consider this:
Abe Lincoln’s productivity secret was to use sharper tools to get the job done more efficiently. He said: “If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.” Lincoln, who was a skilled woodcutter before becoming one of the most important presidents in US history, probably meant this both literally and figuratively. Inefficient tools waste your energy. It’s better to spend the majority of your time finding and cultivating the best tools for any task.
If you have 10 minutes, you might consider investing in watching this classic video from Stephen Covey on big rocks and little rocks… no endorsement of the YouTube channel here, it’s just the only one we could find that still has this classic video. It’s worth your time, watch it!
This is a great reminder to get all the important things in first!