How Often do You Sharpen Your Axe?

March 9, 2015

How Often do You Sharpen Your Axe?Every year in Norway, there is an annual competition to see who will be crowned as ‘Woodcutter of the Year’.

One year, on a particularly cold day, the two finalists met at the crack of dawn to prepare for a mammoth 6 hour session of cutting down trees with nothing but an axe.

Each contestant was given their own area of the forest to work in, well away from the other. And when the judges blew the whistle, they both began.

Chop, chop, chop…

The sound of axes hitting wood echoed throughout the forest, and each contestant matched the opponent stroke for stroke. But as the first hour approached, the contestant on the east of the forest was surprised to hear a sudden silence from his opponent’s side of the forest. He was puzzled, but he carried on cutting.

Every hour, the same thing happened – the contestant on the east side of the forest would hear silence from his opponent’s side, and temporarily increase his pace to ensure a steady lead.

As the day finally drew to a close, both contestants had their trees counted. But to the amazement of the contestant from the east side of the forest, his opponent was declared the winner.

Approaching his opponent, he asked “how is this possible? I matched you stroke for stroke, and when you stopped every hour, I chopped twice as hard – it was impossible for you to win. How did you do it?”

The other woodcutter simply smiled, and said “well my friend, I spent 15 minutes of every hour sharpening my axe”.

Which Woodcutter are You?

Do you throw yourself at your business full force every day, or do you take the time to refresh your brain and ‘sharpen your axe’?

It’s so easy to get caught up in the frantic rush to stay ahead, that often we forget the importance of taking a step back from it all. But taking the time to sharpen our axes will help us succeed at a much more effective rate – even if sometimes it feels like it’s the other way around.

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