Sharpen your Saw

To complete my sharing of Dr. Covey thought, I wish to conclude this miniseries with the following thoughts.

“You can imagine this scene, you come across this person and he’s sawing down a tree. You come up to him and you say, “Boy I bet that’s tough” “Really tough” “How long have you been doing it?” and he’s just sweating, and you can see he’s just exhausted, he’s got all of this material all over his body and everything and he’s just sawing down that tree. “How long?” “I’ve been, I don’t know, three hours” “Well, why don’t you sharpen the saw?” “Can’t you understand, I’m trying to saw down this tree, I don’t have time to sharpen the saw.” “Ya but if you sharpen the saw, the saw, would, saw faster. You could accomplish so much more in so much less time.” Remember again the four parts of our nature. You constantly sharpen the saw in four ways. This to me, if you were select only one goal, this would be the one I would recommend.

Physical exercise, with proper eating. The habit of reading, of studying, cause I’ll tell ya, the world is changing so powerfully. The half life of most professions, most occupations is just a few years. The school of the future is adult education, it is constant reading, study, disciplined study. Maybe for a half hour, maybe an hour a day.

So you’re exercising physically, you’re exercising mentally, you can discuss what you’re learning often, maybe at the dinner table. Maybe involve other people at the dinner table so that everyone is in the spirit of a learning method. Then you go into the whole idea of keeping relationships tuned, strong, healthy, viable, open so people are kind to each other, so they’re respectful of each other. When they are not, they apologize to each other. They have the, Where do they get the internal security to say “I’m sorry” ? Private victory, why? You get your internal security from within. You don’t get it from without. It comes from within you, so you can say, “I’m sorry that was unkind of me, I over reacted, I lost my cool, I was wrong.” “I apologize Mom” “I apologize my friend, my wife, my work associate, that was wrong of me.” And you can do it sincerely, why? Doesn’t wipe you out, your security isn’t a function of other people, your security comes from living by your conscience. That’s called peace of conscience. That’s even greater than peace of mind. And then you want to also be contributing, you want to also be making a difference. This has to do with your spirit, what gives your life meaning, purpose, why do you want to be healthy? So that you can do work, so that you can contribute, make a difference!

In fact, I know of a woman, whose husband had a terrible wasting cancer. She was about 47 years old, he died and she was the life of his life and her life went out of her, seriously. She couldn’t enjoy anything, she grieved so long she wouldn’t even put up Christmas decorations. It was so, such a setback, such a major displacement of all that she had lived for, worked for, to lose her husband. She even almost felt like “why wasn’t I taken?” “he had so much more to give than I have to give.” And then she started to become self-aware, and realize hey, I’ve got a life to live and I’ll never forget the legacy he left me when, near the end of his life he said “live a full life, make a difference, enjoy your life” and she said “those words rang in my mind and in my heart and I started thinking, what could I do? here I am older, but I want to make a difference.” And she decided to go back to school and to become a teacher. She ended up not only as a teacher, but as a leader of teachers, and making a tremendous difference in the lives of thousands of people and providing leadership to schools. Her life took on meaning. Why would she want to keep healthy? Is it just so that she would look good? No, she wanted to make a difference, that’s why the body is so connected to the spirit. To make a difference, to have meaning, and they’ll do it in a way with integrity. Because ends and means are inseparable, in other words, you’ll never accomplish, remember this idea; You’ll never accomplish a worthy end with an unworthy means, you will not. You might think you did, by saying that little off colored story or lie about another person or by cutting
corners in some way and placating may making people feel happy for a moment. I guarantee you though, it will register inside yourself. You know where it registers? Inside your body, your body is the repository of everything your doing. It will register, and that will manifest itself in a lot of other ways because unexpressed feelings never die. They’re buried alive and they come forth later in uglier ways. You have to have a total integrity in your life, to have this peace of conscience. And when you make mistakes, we all do, I do all the time. You change, you get back, on track. Just like a pilot gets back on track and arrives at the destination. But most the time, that pilot is not on track. They’re off most of the time, and any pilot will admit it. But they have a feedback mechanism, that keeps correcting them until they arrive at their destination, usually pretty much on time. And that’s what you have, you have this capacity, you’re not an animal, you’re not a thing, you’re not a plant. You have an enormous ability to choose. The power of choice, next to life itself, is your greatest gift. And it’s made up of those four other unique endowments, self-awareness, imagination, conscience, and independent will.

I affirm you have this power of choice. You can take initiative, you are a product of the private victory. You’re a product of being true to your own value system. You’re not a product of other people’s opinions of you, never let your future be held hostage by your past. I wish you all the best in this tremendous undertaking.”


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