zen and the art of knife sharpening

Stephen Covey in his book the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People tells us that at stage 7 we are to be sharpening the saw.  In this case it’s the knife.  Doing this step properly determines if your hand will hurt.  Or your mind.  It determines how easy your job is for the day, week or longer.  The famous Bruce Lee said in a book of his about a hometown butcher:  “When asked how a butcher kept his knife sharp all of his life, he replied because he never contended with the bone.”  I may have my quotation marks screwed up like normal on that one but the point remains.


We are here to learn to be highly effective at who we are, what we do and who we influence.  I intend to influence for a new learning curve to take place.  I think we all look forward to working with a sharp knife.  Here are some areas that sharpening is effective.


Our spiritual, financial, emotional, physical growth is all dependent on sharpening the saw.  If we keep doing what we’ve always done we are left behind.  Even if we consciously advance, learn and grow it may not be enough to keep up with this delirious pace at which the world moves now.


You can resharpen the saw by taking extra training, studying a new language, viewing someone else who does your same job, listening to new music or podcasts, attending church with more vigor, finding passion for your area of passion.  What you crave to do is important.  Don’t chop down the tree with a dull axe.  You will hurt afterwards, and it will take three times as long.  Not worth it.


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