30 August 2011

On a Quest to Simplify - Slow Down

Whatever we do in life, we tend to compete. Whether it is with others, ourselves or time. We are a competitive tribe. Most advices about being productive include a point about setting your alarm and trying to beat it. After following such instructions it is only natural to loose track of the competition, to forget where we are going or to simply lose motivation.

Once we've been through several competitions of the same kind we learn our lessons and figure out the reasons. But it is not always so. We often have to go through the same cycle again and again and loose precious time until we realize that only by slowing down we can move steadily ahead.

To illustrate what I mean I will tell you the little fable about the lumberjack who found a very well-paid job, and excited as he was, started happily cutting trees right away. 

The first day he cut more than any other lumberjack in the company. The second day he continued working vigorously but could not exceed his first day's results although he put more effort into it. By the tenth day he got the worst results of all lumberjacks. Now the question was if he was going to keep his job.

When he got called to the supervisor's office he was a nervous wreck. The poor man was giving everything that depended on him to serve well and yet, his results were way below mediocre. After telling his story, he almost cried when his supervisor asked him: How often did you sharpen your axe, my friend?

And.. yes, it turned out that the lumberjack was so blinded by the bright idea to do his job perfectly, that he forgot to sharpen his axe every day after work, so that it could help him achieve his goal.
Photo: Jason Jones

Putting all your efforts in making your dream come true is not enough. You need to take care of yourself, take some time off once in a while, change your point of view, change the environment and ultimately... sharpen your axe, my friends, before you head to the next task. Have a neat plan on how to emotionally support yourself, so that you keep on achieving great results!

You might want to read the other posts in the series On a Quest to Simplify:

How do you reward yourself after a job well done? Tell us in the comments.