Sharpen Your Ax | Sunday mail
ICI is confident that you had a cheerful and refreshing Christmas and New Year holidays.
As the New Year begins, it’s when everyone celebrates the start of a new season.
The old cliché says, “New year, new beginnings,” but the million dollar question is; Does it necessarily apply that moving from one year to another leads to an automatic change in everything?
This time of year is characterized by many celebrations and rejoicing in the privilege of a new year. In all of this, let the start of the year be an opportunity to assess, step back, breathe a little, reflect, retool and better position ourselves for 2022.
I remember an old folk tale. Once upon a time there were two lumberjacks named Farai and Farisai. These two were often in competition over who chopped more wood than the other. So one fine day, they decided to hold a competition to determine who was the best in the business.
They were both determined to settle their “beef” once and for all. The rules of the competition were clearly stated and very simple: whoever produced the most wood in a day would be crowned Boss of the Trade. Early in the morning, it was “show time”. Farai and Farisai were positioned on different sides of the forest and it was all about chopping wood as quickly as possible.
For the first hour, the chopping continued unabated before Farisai suddenly stopped. When Farai realized that the chopping noise had stopped on the other side of the forest, he simply smiled and thought to himself, “Ah aha! I knew it. It’s going to be a piece of cake, Farisai is already tired and yet the game has only just begun, “he laughed contemptuously at his rival and continued chopping down trees even with more energy.
About a quarter of an hour passed and Farai heard the sound of Farisai starting to chop wood again. He just wiped a little sweat off his face, convinced he had a head start. He continued to cut, applying all the skills he knows from the book. So they both continued to chop wood.
Although Farai started to feel weary, he continued. But on the other side of the forest, Farisai stopped again. At this point, Farai was even more convinced that he had taken the lead. He confidently continued chopping wood, even hissing with joy, with the conviction that victory was certain. He even expected Farisai to come to him, throw in the towel and beg for mercy.
This continued several times throughout the day. After about an hour, Farisai would stop chopping for a good 15-20 minutes while Farai kept chopping nonstop. The only time Farai would stop for less than five minutes was to wipe some sweat off his body and walk towards the goal.
However, when it came time to take stock, Farai was surprised. Farisai had actually chopped a lot more wood than he had. “How could that be? How could you cut down more trees than I did? Heard you stop working every hour for 15 minutes! exclaimed Farai.
Farisai replied, “Well, it’s really simple. Every time I stopped working, while you were still chopping down trees, I sharpened my ax.
Moral of the story
Most of us, wherever we are, seem to be so busy. We are extremely busy with all that we have to do. We’ve come to want it so badly that we don’t take the time to think about it. It is imperative to analyze, scrutinize, learn from the past and improve. In short, STOP sharpening the “ax”.
This applies to us at different levels; whether national, community, corporate, institutional, family and individual. Everyone is a leader in their own right in one way or another and it is important for all of us to observe an ax sharpening moment in order to maintain or increase productivity.
How exactly do you sharpen the ax?
We often overwork ourselves in light of tasks that require our attention and puzzles that we must solve. These sometimes drain us of all energy, passion, vigor, verve and flexibility, leaving us too exhausted to do much.
At this level, the more we try, the less the efficiency. The only remedy is to take a little break and take a step back in order to rethink the strategy and regain energy.
Rest and relaxation alone will not do the trick; the ax will still be dull even after the rest. While it is essential that the wood cutter take a certain amount of time, rest alone amounts to simply putting down the ax, without sharpening it. It is only when the “blade” is sharp that we start to see more productivity.
Thus, sharpening the blade refers to learning new techniques as well as investing in new skills and strategies. This will ensure that you have more strength and stamina to perform the tasks ahead better. You can’t expect much from a blunt ax.
Here are some steps that can help us sharpen our “axes” (this list is not exhaustive, you can always add to it)
Take the time for a personal retreat to reflect on the year that has just ended.
Look back, appreciate the good things in your life, and be grateful. Think about areas where others have helped you, and eliminate arrogance and the sense of entitlement. Humility is a virtue.
Evaluate yourself honestly against everything you were expected to do and accomplish throughout the year. Learn from where you have failed. Change if necessary. Have systems in place that will help you avoid repeating what made you fail.
Review your spiritual development and growth: have you grown and developed your spiritual muscle?
Examine your mental transformation, development and maturity and ask yourself if you have developed your mindset and mental toughness.
Assess your physical health by eating a healthy diet, sleeping well, and exercising.
Evaluate your financial progress, looking at how careful and profitable you have been in your financial decisions.
Ask yourself the question: to what extent have you developed your social networks and to what extent have you participated in building your community?
Look at your relationships: how meaningful and profitable were they?
Finally, plan for 2022; even if you at least fail, you will have goals to help you revise at the end of this year. Plan, plan, plan !!!
Remember that each day is a new opportunity to recharge your batteries, renew yourself and refine yourself.
Set aside a few moments to sharpen your ax instead of just chopping wood continuously but unproductively: start working smarter instead of longer.
Remember that change does not happen on its own: a famous saying goes, “Some people want it to happen, some people want it to happen, others do.
A fruitful and prosperous year 2022 to all of us !!!
Anouya Muringayi is an entrepreneur, business consultant, life coach, author and transformational speaker. He can be contacted by email: [email protected]