Sharpen the Saw: Something We Can Use Tonight

Discussion in 'Self Improvement' started by SolidStance, Nov 23, 2015.

  1. This is one of my favorite habits taught by Stephen Covey because it keeps all the other habits stuck together like glue. Sharpen the saw is the last of the seven habits but can be put into practice immediately. In fact, all of the habits can be done whenever you want, but they don’t hold any effectiveness if you have not yet internalized the beginning three. Sharpening the Saw is universal, it can be done tonight. There’s a story with this habit, as there’s a story with every habit. Teaching by story is visual, it’s effective and people can relate.

    There’s a person chopping down a tree with an axe. An onlooker comes by and asks, “How long have you been chopping at that tree?”

    The lumberjack replies and sighs at the same time, “Oh…umm, three hours.”

    “Well! You must be exhausted!” Says the onlooker.

    “Ya, I’m beat.”

    “Why don’t you stop and sharpen the saw?”

    The lumberjack looks up and says:


    The point is the lumberjack was spending more time struggling at his job chopping this tree with a dull axe. Had he stopped for a few minutes to sharpen it, the tree would have come down much sooner.

    Take that into your own life. Are you constantly trying to force something? Do you have the attitude of “take no prisoners” and find that you tend to just offend others, or end up in a bad situation and you don’t know how you got there? Most of us end up in that position at one time or another. Pro-activity is not taking withdrawals from people, it’s arrogance.

    The meaning behind the habit of sharpen the saw is to stop, relax and reset, reflect. Sharpening the saw means checking up on yourself, your mind, and making sure you’re where you want to be and you’re who you want to be.

    The author of the habit suggests that we include daily and weekly goals into our life that force us to “sharpen the saw.” Since our life is constantly moving forward, we don’t just do one “reset” and call it good. We have to actually incorporate sharpening the saw into our life as an internalized habit; it has to be just as regular as day-to-day obligations are.

    The four elements of life that need sharpening are: Physical, Mental, and Spiritual. The result is mastery in the Emotional/Social area of life and in the mind. Mastery over self has to be cultivated over and over again. Complacency kills mastery and all the habits that go along with it.

    1. Physical is the most clear and obvious one. Exercise. The human body was meant to be active more than it is sedentary. Incorporating fresh air into our lungs, athletic activity, eating good real food. All these habits are proven to improve life, and in fact need to be a part of a healthy and balanced one.

    2. Mental or intellectual is also self-evident, but not always a habit. We tend to graduate from the school system and let this element go. Return back to reading, writing, and analytical thinking. Watch less TV. Read a book every month to start. Reading is powerful. The greatest minds in history have written their thoughts and philosophy down. Reading and studying the greats often reflects on us. Writing is also very powerful. We need to get back to regular writing, as thoughts build up in our mind over time and they should be written down for more to replace them. As we mature, so do our thoughts. Clearing the mental docket in a journal makes room for future reflections and realizations.

    3. Spiritual, our value system. This is the most personal element of the four. The spiritual side of your life needs to be cultivated. This isn’t a religious habit. It can be, but essentially it means getting back to who we really are. What makes you, you. Find something that brings real mental peace and contentment. It can be a matter of getting back to nature and just reflecting with friends and family. Camping can be profound if you look at it this way. Cultivate time by yourself and enjoy those moments. Try not to always be around people and try not to always be doing things. Plan it out on a calendar. Try once a month. Say to yourself: “Once a month I’m going to enjoy silence and be alone. I’m going to reflect on me and what I’m all about. I’m going to stay away from technology and mobile devices during this time.” Eventually we increase this to weekly, and then ultimately daily personal time. This is also another private battle that complements the public ones. In fact, this personal time of reflection can change your life in and of itself.

    4. Emotional/social. The two go together because they reflect so strongly on each other. This element occurs naturally if all other elements are adhered to. We automatically shift our paradigm of life and us, we win private battles and then public ones, we start becoming proactive, and in the end our character and attitude towards ourselves and all people adjust to this new way of living.

    “The greatest battles of life are fought daily in the silent chambers of our soul. Settle the issues there and you will feel an inward sense of peace. An inward sense of “I know what I am about. Working cooperatively with others and success will follow you naturally.”- Stephen Covey
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2016
  2. Thanks for writing brother, as always :)
    SolidStance likes this.
  3. I never thought it, but no fapping, and no self centered pleasure is like sharpening the saw, in a way, it makes you a stronger person.
    also I want to be and act out, who I was suppose to be when I was born, not be acting out other peoples agenda's ect..
    Contentful T likes this.
  4. I will think about my habits, and the stories attached to them . maybe will help me change.
    Contentful T likes this.
  5. Contentful T and Strugglesaurus like this.
  6. Contentful T

    Contentful T Fapstronaut

    Nice. Keep it sharp, I like that :emoji_trident:

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