The Wood-Cutter




Once upon a time there was a very strong wood-cutter.

He asked for a job from a timber merchant and he got it. The pay was very good and so were the work conditions and for that reason, the wood-cutter was determined to do his very best. His boss gave him an axe and showed him the area in the forest where he was to work.

The first day the wood-cutter cut down 18 trees. His boss was extremely impressed and said, “Well done. Keep it up. You are our best wood-cutter yet.”

Motivated by his boss’s words, the wood-cutter tried even harder the next day, but he only cut down 15 trees. The third day he tried even harder but only cut down 10 trees.

Day after day the woodcutter cut down fewer and fewer trees. His boss came to him and told him that if he did not chop down more trees each day he would lose his job. The wood-cutter needed the job, so he tried harder and harder.

He worked during his lunch breaks and tea breaks, but still he could not cut down enough trees. “I must be losing my strength” the wood-cutter thought to himself. He worked over-time, but still it was not enough.

Eventually his boss came to him and told him he was fired. The wood-cutter was really upset, but he knew that he had worked as hard as he could and just did not have enough time to chop more trees. He sadly handed his axe back.

The boss took one look at the axe and asked, “When was the last time you sharpened your axe?

“Sharpen my axe?” the wood-cutter replied. “I have never sharpened my axe. I have been too busy trying to cut down enough trees.”

The Wood-Cutter - Moral of the story

Moral of the story:Don’t get so busy that you don’t take time to sharpen your axe.

We have all heard of Abraham Lincoln and how he is regarded as one of the most important presidents in American history.

What is perhaps lesser known are his energy and productivity levels – he achieved lots each and every day. His productivity secret was to use sharper tools to get the job done more efficiently.

He said: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

I was unaware that he was a skilled wood-cutter before becoming president – and there’s me thinking he had been a vampire hunter  ;-).

Inefficient tools waste energy.

It’s better to spend the majority of your time finding and cultivating the best tools for any task.

Sharpening your axe can include things like setting up email filters, installing productivity software, and developing more efficient systems and processes.

The Wood-Cutter YOU

But (and most of us forget this), the most important ‘tool’ for achieving any task is YOU – your ability to use your mind and body to its full potential.

Sadly it is also the one that we most often take for granted.

We expect our bodies and minds to just keep on going and going even though we don’t look after them.

Most of us do not give our bodies and minds enough sleep, don’t eat enough nutritious food and don’t drink enough water.

We poison our bodies and minds with junk food, cigarettes, alcohol and a variety of other substances.

We exercise too little and don’t take proper breaks.

We don’t relax and we don’t enrich ourselves with learning, creativity and beauty.

In short, we don’t sharpen our axe!

So how are you going to sharpen your saw this weekend?

About the author, Andrew Wallis

From two decades in the corporate world to finding my freedom in fitness, I'm known as Braveheart—a Personal Trainer turned marketing maestro for Fitness Professionals. I'm all about unlocking potential and empowering Fit Pros to grow their businesses. 'Finding Your Freedom' isn't just a mantra; it's a collective journey I embark upon with my clients.

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