A story is told of a man who was desperately looking for a job to enable him provide for his family. He owned a saw which he kept sharpening hoping to find a job at a nearby milling factory. After a long time, he finally got the chance to work at the milling factory and was very determined to work hard and please his master so as to keep the newly found job.
He was allocated work to cut down trees for the milling factory and he did so using his well sharpened saw and performed better all the other workers. His master was pleased with him and congratulated him for his effort.
Days passed and something unusual started happening – the number of trees he cut down each day were declining and this became a source of stress as he would lose his job. When his performance continued to decline he decided to talk to the master and seek counsel.
“I have been your best servant and exceeded your expectations but now I can barely match my coworkers’ performance. I don’t know what the problem is; am doing my best” He explained. Having listened to him carefully, his master asked, “When was the last time you sharpened your saw?”
I considered my ways And turned my feet to Your testimonies –
The servant, in shock explained that he had actually not sharpened his saw for the longest time; the job consumed him so much that he had actually not sharpened his saw for some time! The process of cutting dulls the saw. So the solution is to periodically sharpen the saw.
This revelation struck him hard and straight went to sharpen his saw thoughtfully. He was not just able to retain his work; he out did his co-workers earning him a supervisory role in the milling company.
But what is sharpening the saw?
Is it taking a break after many years? Or going on a vacation after working all year along? That is not sharpening the saw, but laying the saw down. When you put down a dull saw for a while, the saw will still be dull when you pick it up again.
Sharpening the saw is an activity, just as this analogy suggests. Some of the activities include, educating yourself on a subject, Exercising, joining a club, learning a new skill, joining college, reading a blog like this among others
Every day we face new challenges, new problems arise and new tasks emerge. We get frustrated by life and our inability to cope, instead of developing ourselves and taking the time to grow and be more effective, we struggle and hold on to a blunt saw.
Most of the time the old ways of doing things may not be effective and a new paradigm shift in how we have been going on our roles and tasks is inevitable.
Do you find it hard coping with change, remaining competitive, productive, creative and innovative? If it’s taking a toll on you, you need to ask yourself “When did I last sharpen my saw?”
How will you sharpen your saw? Kindly share on the comment section below.