“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” ~attributed to Abraham Lincoln
Prepping might just be more important than doing. I suppose that statement really is determined by the task at hand, but even in emergency situations the prepared are always better equipped to survive than those that have not spent the time thinking and preparing.
I like the quote as attributed to Abraham Lincoln for the main reason that it emphasizes preparation is twice as important as doing. In six hours, the first four would be spent sharpening, while the last two would actually entail the chopping.
There is another analogy oft discussed in this topic and it is also around the felling of trees. A young lumberjack is hired to work for a logging outfit. He buys a new saw, dons his equipment, and heads out. He’s fit and young and after the first day he fell more trees than the older logger he was working near. He felt good and he went out and did it again the next day and the day after. But after about a week he felt like he was working just as hard, if not harder, but was only cutting as many trees as the older logger. The third week he was absolutely working harder but definitely falling behind the others. Having been so boastful in the beginning he became angry and frustrated at the situation.
Finally, when he had enough, after work he walked up to the older logger and exclaimed, “I started out cutting more trees than you, I’m younger and stronger, my equipment is newer, but now I can’t even keep up and it’s only been a few weeks. What is your secret?” The older wiser logger said, “Well it is true you’re younger, stronger, but you don’t understand your work. Each day I get up and go to work, do a solid days effort, and head home. At home I grab up my saw then oil and sharpen it and prepare for the next day. When was the last time you sharpened your saw?” The young man, embarrassed, admitted he had not taken care of his equipment at all, thus all his effort was for naught because his equipment was not cared for. The lesson: Take care of your equipment and work steady, you’ll do more…or…Prepare well before you work hard…or…(fill in your takeaway here).
This was not a great week for me as far as preparation. Each day was long, meetings and commitments each night, then home to crash before the next day. As of today, Saturday, I’m done. I need some time at home to sharpen my saw/axe and get ready for next week.
The other lesson I get from both the quote and parable: It takes determined time to prepare and sharpen for your work. Meaning it doesn’t just happen, it has to be purposefully scheduled and executed. So as I sign off (writing this does help me sharpen) and prepare to nap//read//watch//hobby//whatever// I would challenge you to look at your schedule for this coming week. When are you going to sit down and sharpen your axe?