Be the Axe

Prudence 10/14/2019

Ever try to chop wood with a dull blade? You can get it done, but it is not easy. I have been chopping a lot of wood lately, and it has got me thinking about this tool.

The purpose of a good tool is to get a job done and to do it efficiently. A dull axe is like using a 3G phone today. You can eventually get where you want to go, but it is going to take you a while. And the whole time you are waiting for it to load up, you are going to know that things could be a lot better. In a world of sharp axes, your 3G phone is dull.

We are similar to that axe. We can be sharp, or we can be dull. When you are sharp, you get things quick. You are efficient and productive. But when you are dull, you are slow and inefficient.

To take a dull axe and make it sharp takes time. The latest method I tried using began with a metal file. I filed the edge of the axe down until I could no longer see any chips along the blade. When I was satisfied with the edge, I began to use a smooth stone. By the time I was done, my sharpened axe was an efficient chopping machine. My cuts were deeper, and my work went by quicker.

Like the axe, to become sharp in life takes time. You have to slowly and methodically remove the imperfections. In the beginning, like the metal file, you are shaving away the big chunks through your own education. You will get sharper as you go, but you will still be rough. But once your foundational work is done, you can get that whet stone out and start honing yourself to a fine edge. The whet stone is trial and error. This can’t be taught in books. You live and you learn.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I’ll spend the first four sharpening the axe. –Abraham Lincoln

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