How To Do It
I’ll share a couple of ways that I do to sharpen my saw.
Turn it off.
Turn off the television. Other than Walking Dead and Duck Dynasty there is really nothing on television anyway.
Turn off your phone. You are not that important that you need your phone with you at all times, it’s a distraction, it’s a disruption, and it competes for your attention.
Turn off Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest whatever other social network you are using.
Read deeply, and broadly across a wide range of topics.
Research has shown that regardless of income, the more you read the more you are apt to participate in things like voting, political activism, participation in culture and fine arts, volunteerism, charity work, and even regular exercise.
Research has also shown that proficient readers are more likely to attain management jobs and higher incomes.
Reading engages our minds, improves our vocabulary, improves our concentration and focus, improves our memory and creativity, and can change our lives!
Read professional books, technical books, fiction, books on philosophy and religion, science books.
Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. – Charles William Eliot
Learn something new each and everyday.
We start life as an infant in a strange new world. We don’t know how to use our arms or legs, yet overtime we figure things out and the next thing you know were walking, running and communicating.
We are soon shuffled off to school where we learn math, science, reading and writing.
Each year we are learning more and more.
We soon head off to college where we gain more knowledge on the field or career we would like to go into.
Graduation day comes, and then we stop. We stop learning.
When we learn new things we are more able to adapt to new situations, we are more confident, more creative, more innovative and more understanding of others.
Get outside of your box! Try something new.
Who you know will get you through the door, what you know keeps you in the room.
I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday. – Abraham Lincoln
In the nature vs. nurture debate, researchers have declared nurture the winner.
People who excel are the ones who work the hardest.
Deliberate practice is not about putting in hours, it’s about working to improve performance. It does not mean doing what you are good at; it means challenging yourself under the guidance of a teacher.
It’s no good to have a sharp saw, if you don’t use it.
It’s about doing it!
Practice isn’t the thing you do when you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good. – Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success
Go ahead and embrace failure.
The only way you are going to be successful in life is to first fail. Too many people are afraid to fail. They choose to avoid failure at all costs.
While they may appear to be successful on the outside, they will never know what true success is.
They will never get to experience because they were too afraid to fail.
Failure has nothing to do with incompetence, and everything to do with risk taking. Where you see failure, I see risk-taking.
Did you know?
- Oprah Winfrey was demoted from her job as a news anchor because she… “Wasn’t fit for television.”
- Walt Disney was fired by a news editor because he lacked imagination.
- Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.
Sharpening the saw embraces failure, or risk-taking. The word you choose your tells a lot about your character.
Failure is the opportunity to being again more intelligently. – Henry Ford
There’s many other ways to sharpen the saw, like teaching, volunteering, mentoring, and more, but for the sake of time, I picked the ones that we could start doing today.
Don’t lose it … maintain.
More or less a word of caution.
It’s one thing to dig a hole and plant a tree. It’s a different matter to provide the care needed to produce edible fruit on that tree. Planting isn’t the hard part, maintaining is.
We need to be careful that in our pursuit of continuous growth and improvement that we don’t lose those things that helped us along the way.
Reread an old book, take a refresher class at the local college, or find a meet-up that will exercise some dormant skill or activity.
Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance. – Kurt Vonnegut
Wrapping things up.
We looked at the importance of sharpening the saw, the fact that we are responsible and capable of sharpening the saw, and some ways that I have found successful to sharpen the saw.
First, the only person responsible for sharpening your saw is you, making a better me, not my family, not my friends, not my co-workers and not my boss.
Second, no one is exempt from sharpening the saw. Not me, not you, not your boss and not ownership.
My hope is I have inspired to start sharpening your saw today!