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June 10, 2022

Like An Ax

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Abraham Lincoln was quoted saying “If I only had an hour to chop down a tree, I would spend the first 45 minutes sharpening my ax.” There’s an obvious lesson in this quote, but beyond the immediate I want to use this metaphor to illuminate other under-spoken lessons.

Sharpening the ax is all about preparation and working smarter not harder. Instead of wasting a bunch of energy swinging a dull ax trying to chop down a tree, you’ll be much more efficient if you improve the quality of your effort. That’s where it might actually be more time efficient to invest in having your activity produce more concentrated value.

But despite this quote, a sharp ax doesn’t cut a tree down by itself. You need to show up and swing the ax. Life rewards those who show up, who aren’t afraid to put in the required work that advances an idea or generates the desired result. The law of attraction is useless without the law of action, and swinging the ax is showing up day in and day out to take action.

Then last, it’s not enough to have a sharp ax, and to swing it at a tree. You need a strategy. You need to find the weakest point of the trunk and you need to be precise and consistent with hitting it exactly in that spot. This is why taking the time to evaluate a situation, and then building a plan to execute that strategy is so vital because then it tells you how you need to show up and take action.

I want you to embody all qualities of the ax. Sharpen your skills so that you can do more with less effort. Show up and do be afraid to take swings. And be strategic and consistent with how you apply yourself to maximize the impact of your effort. 

To incorporate these principles into your life right now I want you to reflect on this - How are you swinging the ax right now, and what can you do to be more effective with it?

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