Centurion Mindset: Sharpen your Saw

Welcome to another Centurion Mindset post. This mindset, sharpening your saw, is one I use daily. I love the idea of making sure I am at least 1% better than I was yesterday. This weeks topic as you may have seen from the title of the article is Sharpening your Saw. You may know this concept already, or it may be completely foreign to you, either way I am going to start this post off with a parable, let’s begin.

Before you cut down the tree, remember to sharpen the saw

I’d like to start with a story to illustrate my point. The story of a lumberjack named Jim. Jim was a great lumberjack, a strong man who could saw down a redwood if he had the opportunity. He was extremely productive and each and every day. Jim was cutting down trees faster and cleaner than any other lumberjacks in his company. His boss took notice of this and assigned Jim an apprentice to teach. Jim began his day talking to his apprentice, Tom, about his previous experience sawing timber. Tom wasn’t great at the job, he was a strong kid but he never had much success. Tom asked Jim what his secret was, how he was able to saw so well and so quickly. Jim asked to see Tom’s saw and noticed it was dull and rusting. Jim showed his own saw which was pristine and sharper than any saw Tom had ever seen. Because Jim took time each morning and after each day to sharpen his saw, he found his work much easier. This simple story illustrates an aspect of life that can make a major difference, sharpening our tools makes life easier.

To elaborate on what sharpening your saw can mean for someone not named Jim the Lumberjack, it is a phrase with many meanings. For example, for an athlete sharpening your saw might mean putting in extra time focusing on one very detailed aspect of your sport. For a businessperson that might mean reading or listening to a book about your position or industry, or attending a class to teach more about a topic relevant to you. For a hunter this might mean time on the range, or a farmer it might be reading up on new innovations in the industry. There are many ways for a person to sharpen the saw they use in their day to day lives.

Finding the Right Whetstone

To sharpen an actual blade, saw, or axe the old school way is to use a whetstone. A stone that is grinded against the blade to make it sharper. The application to life is that just as there are many ways to sharpen a saw, there are many ways to learn to sharpen our mental saw. I personally love using audiobooks, an Audible subscription from Amazon is fairly cheap and you keep the book forever. I am a big fan of podcasts as well, there are a lot of great free ones (and some worthwhile paid ones). If you’re a more tactile person you can go simple and easy and buy books or if you have a local library go there to rent them. I enjoy reading as well but I find audio formats to be the easiest to maneuver with, I listen to them on my way to and from work, during the work day, and sometimes while I’m at the gym. Think about it this way, if you have an hour commute each day, that’s two hours a day you can listen to an audio book at minimum. Most audiobooks aren’t longer than 15 hours, so you can get through a book in around a week at normal speed. Faster if you listen to it sped up, which is much easier than one would think.

It’s never too late to Sharpen Your Saw

No matter what point you’re at in your career, either as a student-athlete, coach, professional etc. it is never too late to start sharpening your saw. That one lesson to get you started is out there. Maybe it’s this post. Maybe it’s a YouTube video, whatever it maybe don’t wait to get started, START. In conclusion, being willing to constantly learn and refine whatever it is we do is how we can work to be a better version of ourselves each and every day. Work to learn something new each opportunity you get, talk to a different person and get a new perspective. Even just reflect on some things that you’ve done really well before and learn to make that your new norm. Whatever tool it is you use, learn how to sharpen it.

Thank You!

As always, thanks so much for taking the time to read this, and if you found value in it please feel free to give it share or offer up some feedback, good or bad! Have a great week this week and I hope that what I talked about can help you in some way! Hope this helps you learn more, achieve more, and sharpen your mental edge. Have a great day, be all you can be-Coach Higgins

Published by Centurion Wrestling Club

Former D1 Wrestler at Penn State University. Member of Four national championship winning teams.

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