Two Woodcutters

Lin Qingqing

PureInsight | December 29, 2007

[] A young woodcutter was cutting wood in the mountains. In a short while, an old woodcutter came to work in the mountain as well. At nightfall, the young woodcutter was surprised to find out that the old woodcutter had cut more wood even though he came later. The young woodcutter made a decision secretly that he would come to work in the mountains even earlier the next morning.

The next day, the young woodcutter indeed came to work in the woods very early. He thought, "I will certainly win this time." Unexpectedly, when he carried his wood back, he found the old woodcutter had beaten him again.

On the third day, the young woodcutter decided that he would not only arrive early, but also leave late. He thought he would definitely win this time. However, the old woodcutter beat him again on that day. The same thing happened on the fourth and fifth day.

On the sixth day, the young woodcutter could no longer stand it and raised the question to the old woodcutter, "I start working earlier than you and stop working later than you. How come you beat me every time?  Besides, I'm also younger than you."

"Alas, young man!" The old woodcutter patted him on his shoulder and said, "After I get home every day, the first thing I do is to sharpen my axe. While you are sleeping your fatigue off, your axe is getting duller and duller. Therefore, even though I am older than you, start working later than you, and leave earlier than you, my axe is sharper than yours. A tree will fall after I chop five times, but only after you chop more than ten times." The young woodcutter understood completely.

The old saying says, "An artisan must first sharpen his tools if he is to do his work well." If one wants to do his job well, he must first sharpen his tools. It a student wants to get a good score, he must first enrich his knowledge. If a company wants to increase its share of the market, it must first be well organized internally. If a person wants to obtain others' respect and attention, he must first behave well.
The young woodcutter was only paying attention to the results but ignoring the axe-sharpening factor of the process. That is why he only got half the results with double the effort. However, the old woodcutter enriched his own self, which is the key for success!

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