When the axe is dull
(In memory of Steven Covey; 1932-2012)
In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey gave the 2nd Habit as BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND.
He said to close one’s eyes and imagine a funeral service which one attended and found that the late gentleman/woman was oneself! Then you begin to identify former classmates, colleagues, neighbours, churchmen/women, family friends, siblings, etc.
Each group of friends was given an opportunity to say something about you!
Covey said to imagine what you would like to hear said about you, and start today to live to earn such a eulogy or speech!
At the end of Covey’s life, some of us have realised how oblivious we have been of the impact of the man we have never met on our lives! He lived his message.
The last of the habits says SHARPEN THE SAW. Interestingly that can be traced to the bible!
The duller the axe, the harder the work. Use your head: the more brains, the less muscle (The Message Bible)
If you don’t sharpen your axe, it will be harder to use; if you are smart, you’ll know what to do. (CEV)
Covey wrote about how to ensure continual improvement and to safeguard against burn-outs. He gave 4 dimensions of “self-renewal” as physical, spiritual, mental and social/emotional. The summary is that each and every one of us needs to exercise the 4 dimensions “regularly and consistently in wise and balanced ways”!
– Physical dimension: exercise, the right nutrition, rest and relaxation
– Spiritual dimension: meditate and relate with God.
– Mental dimension: learn something new. Push your brain, lest it atrophies!
– Social/emotional dimension: communicate and cooperate with others.
Many a young (wo)man labours at tasks, working hard, not planning, not reviewing the tools, not sharpening the saw, not smart! More energy is expended, little work is done and eventually it will catch up with them.
Ever imagined the man travelling who could not afford a few minutes to fuel his car?
He needed to, he knew it;
He wanted to, he really did;
But he was so pressed for time that he couldn’t afford to stop to refuel!
That is the picture of a person who cannot afford the time to “sharpen his saw”…it catches up eventually!