September 25, 2018

Sharpening The Axe

I want to talk to you all about the importance of ‘reposo‘ or sharpening the axe. To discuss this topic, I want to tell you all a story.

There where two men that were chopping wood. At the start of the day their boss told them that he wants all those trees cut down and as much firewood as possible. So the two men started out cutting down the trees, but at about 10 o’clock the first man said: “ Its time for a coffee, what do you think?” The second man was not interested as he knew that they had a lot of work to do and thought that they didn’t have time for coffee.

A few hours later the first man said again “ It’s lunchtime. Let’s go eat something.” The second man was getting angry at this point as he knew that there is no way that they have time for lunch.

A few hours after lunch the first man said to the second, “Mate you have been going all day, why don’t you come with me and have a coffee?” At this point, the second man was absolutely furious as he had not stopped working all day and his so-called friend has had 3 breaks even though they both knew they have lots of work to do. 

At the end of the day as the sun was going down the second man turned around to the first man and saw his pile of wood. He was furious, it was twice the size of his. He straight away turned to the other guy and accused him of stealing his wood. He accused him of cheating. The first man denied it and assured his friend that his pile was all his.

The second man shouted “How can you honestly think that you can have twice the amount of wood that I have got when you have had three breaks today and slacked off your work? You have obviously cheated.” 

The first man gently turned to the second man and said: “Every time that I sat down and had my breaks, I would simply spend some time sharpening my axe.”


The point of the story is that in our lives we often work hard but not efficiently. We burn ourselves out without knowing that we are doing it. We need to take the time and effort to look after the most essential tool that we own. That tool is ourselves. We need to take the time REGULARLY to sharpen our OWN axe.

To sharpen your axe, you don’t always need a really long holiday; however, it can be a good idea to physically remove yourself from your everyday routine. Ways in which we do this is by doing simple things before it is too late. Do things that you love to do, things that allow you to escape. For example have a bath, go for a run, treat yourself with some chocolate, watch a movie, meet up with friends or spend some time in the sunshine. The most important thing is to do the things that make you feel great ‘in the moment’ and that allows you to have your axe as sharp as it can be.

Hope you enjoyed my long story, but please take care of the most important tool that you have… YOU.

Lots of Love,
Dr Sam