Sharpening Your Ax

“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax”.
~Abraham Lincoln, former U.S. President.

My husband says if he had allocated his time in this fashion to a task set by his Dad, he would have had hell to pay. But I don’t think so from what I know of his very successful, business-minded father. Spending more time making sure you have the right tools and they are in peak operating condition before you begin using them is always a wise use of time. I get that timing, and not wasting time, is critical (the perfect being the enemy of the good and so forth), but the task will almost always go much more smoothly with upfront planning and preparation. Hacking away with a dull blade exhausts the person doing the job and makes a mess of the outcome. Undoubtedly, it also takes longer to do the actual chopping, even if you still make your eight hour deadline. Taking the time to hone your instrument also gives you time to invest the project with thought (as in where to strike the tree and how often) and, yes, love, because you put more of your spirit into the task, not just blunt force. That alone will guarantee a more elegant and successful outcome, and leave you with energy to spare for the next task, peace of mind due to a job well executed, and a body less taxed by the physical exertion.


About bwdlg

Environmental Law
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One Response to Sharpening Your Ax

  1. Ed Phillips says:

    I respect Mr. Lincoln qoute but my father would ask what “union” did he belong too.
    Thinking like my Dad, I would sharpening my ax the night before with an electric sharpener to be ready to do eight hours of productive work the next day.
    My real story sounds like this: on the farm I would sharpen 20 hoes the night before so that the workers could hoe for eight hours the next day. Maybe I would sharpen a couple of extras in case they were needed. The Art of War.

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