The Axe: Message from the Morning Man by Kojo Yankson


The Axe: Message from the Morning Man
by Kojo Yankson

19th August 2015

I once read a story about a strong young man who went to a timber yard looking for work. The manager gave him an axe and sent him off into the woods to cut down some trees. That first day, the young man brought back 20 trees. The manager was suitably impressed.

“Well done”, he said. You’re a very hard worker”.

The strong man was pleased with himself. “I must be good at this”, he thought.

The following day, he went into the woods and worked even harder than he had done the previous day, but he only brought back 18 trees.

The third day, in spite of his increased efforts, he only managed 15 trees.

Now, he was worried. He went to his manager. “I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, but I can’t seem to do as well as I did on my first day”

The manager thought about it for a minute and asked, “When was the last time you sharpened your axe?”

“Well,” the man said, “I’ve been working so hard, I haven’t had time to keep it sharp”

My friends, are we staying sharp? Or are we too busy working hard? One of the most important factors that determines your productivity is your knowledge. So when was the last time you learnt something?

This world is dynamic. Whatever your chosen career, whether you work in a bank or a mortuary, people around the world are figuring out how to do your job quicker and better. Unless you’re not being paid to do your job, You have an obligation to be one of such people.

But here’s the best bit: you don’t always have to figure out quicker and better ways to do your job by yourself. Jus t learn from the last person who did. Staying sharp needn’t cost you a fortune. The only requirement from you is a healthy curiosity.

Albert Einstein once said, “The first evidence of lower intelligence is slowness to adapt. The second evidence is the duplication of work”

If there are smarter ways of doing our job, but we, instead of learning and adapting insist on employing the same old tedious, bureaucratic methods, then what level of intelligence are we demonstrating? It has been proven time and time again by people much cleverer than you and I, that working smart is more productive than working hard. Let’s get on board, my friends. Today, please. Time is running out.

My name is Kojo Yankson, and I’m never too busy to stay sharp.