During the 18th century two brothers walked out to the forrest, both had axes in their hand. They planed on cutting down as many trees as they possibly could within six hours. The two brothers, Abe and John are about the same age and have the same physical build, they are equally strong. It is a bright early morning, and they figure there is about six more hours of sunlight, so they will see how many trees they can cut down within the six hour time period.
As they walk to the cutting area John decides to challenge his brother Abe to a competition, “Brother Abe, I bet you that I can cut down more trees within 6 hours than you can.” Abe replies, “Oh really? We’ll just have to see about that.” The two brothers agree to see who between them can cut down the most trees within the six hours.
At noon they arrive to the area where they are supposed to start axing. John starts right away and beings axing immediately. After about an hour he cuts down his first tree and looks over his shoulder to see that his brother Abe has not cut down any trees at all. In fact, he notices Abe isn’t cutting at all, instead he is just sharpening his axe. John shrugs in disbelief that his brother is sharpening his axe, so he continues to axe himself and after another hour he cuts down a second tree. After he cuts down the second tree he looks over to his brother Abe again whom he finds is still sharpening his axe!
“What are you doing Abe? I’ve already cut down my first two trees in two hours! I’m going to beat you,” yells John laughing at Abe. Giving no attention, Abe continues to sharpen his axe. In disbelief John turns around to the trees and begins cutting down his third tree. After another hour John has cut down his third tree, he is cutting about one tree down per hour. John feels confident that he will win, because he has already cut down three trees so far, and his brother Abe has not even begun axing yet.
As John starts to start cutting down his 4th tree, he sees his brother get up and start axing. Within 20 minutes of cutting John hears a big thud, he turns around to see a tree was just cut down by his brother Abe. Abe had cut down his first tree within his first 20 minutes!
“He must of just got lucky,” John thinks to himself. But then another 20 minutes passes and Abe cuts down another three, while John is still working on his tree. The next 20 minutes Abe cuts down a third minute, he has now just cut down three trees within an hour. John finally cuts down his forth tree. So on the the fourth hour, John has cut down four trees already, and his brother abe has cut down three!
It appears that John is cutting down a tree every hour, but his brother Abe with the sharper axe is cutting down 3 trees an hour! Six hours finally comes out, and John’s total is six trees cut down, and his brother Abe who spent the first three hours sharpening his axe, cut down nine trees in the last three hours.
Who cut down the most trees? Abe did.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “If I had six hours to cut down trees, I’d spend the first three hours sharpening my axe, and the last three cutting down the trees.” Lincoln was a smart man.
Even though John spent the whole six hours cutting down trees, his axe was so dull that he was only able to cut down one tree every hour. While on the other hand Abe invested the time sharpening his axe and was able to cut down three trees per hour. So what’s the point of this whole story?
The point of the story is to cleary show that someone who invests the time to develop their own personal skills has a great advantage over someone who doesn’t take the time to invest in-themselves. The person who avoids studying and becoming a better entrepreneur fails to someone who has taken the time to invest in themselves and become a better entrepreneur.
It shows the dramatic difference between entrepreneurs, that for example, in ten years two people starting out at the same spot can have completely different levels of success because one person took the time and invested in himself, learning how to be a great entrepreneur from people have already done it, when the other simply just put hard work into his business but never learned the best possible way to build his business.
Now the actual story that I told you was a fake one, I made it up. Although the quote by Abraham Lincoln is a real. Then why the story? Using stories is a great way to teach a piece of philosophy. Philosophy by itself is somewhat boring and engaging, but throwing it into a story makes it fun! Rich Dad Poor Dad the book is basically about two things, number one, we should increase our financial intelligence, and number two, buy assets and not liabilities. But it was his story he told that you remember, and the story that taught the lessons which made it a new york time’s best seller. So that is why I embed the lesson with a story, you’re more likely to remember the story.
How do we sharpen our axe? There is two primary ways of learning new things, and becoming better, stronger and wiser. Simply broken down they are: Learned Knowledge and Activity Knowledge.
Learned Knowledge is more passive knowledge that you gather from reading books, going to seminars, listening to audio books, reading quotes and learning from other people. The other, Activity Knowledge is knowledge you acquire by doing and learning things sometimes the hard way.
We need both types of knowledge to really excel. If you just try activity knowledge all day you are learning the hard way, you don’t have to read any more. You’ll figure out what works by trial and error, and you’ll learn new things. And if you just read all day, what good would that do?
The sharpest and brightest people in life, in my personal opinion are those who are constant learners of good information, but then apply the knowledge immediately. They switch off between learned knowledge and activity knowledge daily, and do both, and excel at what they do. Each day they do what they do better.
I personally know older entrepreneurs that have small businesses that they have grown to 1-5 employees. They have been working for 10+ years in their business, their business now looks about the same it did years ago. The reason the business is about the same is because as of today entrepreneur of the business is the same as they were years ago. In other words, the entrepreneurs businesses haven’t experienced any growth because the owner hasn’t changed himself. They have the same old ideas and tricks they had years ago and use, and doing the same things they did before are getting them the same results. In other words even though they are working hard at their business, they aren’t getting any better at it, so they find themselves after 10 years at roughly the same income level as before and frustrated. They think they know everything there is about their business and refuse to accept the idea that there is anything else they can do, so they fall into the trap. They fall into the trap that there business won’t grow any further because they won’t grow personally. They are so busy chopping away with a dull axe, they completely forgotten to sharpen their axe, and if you give them a book, they say their to busy.
Here is a key note to remember: “Your income seldomly exceeds your level of personal development,” Jim Rohn. To receive more in life, we have to become more.
So let us together, not become someone who works all day with a dull axe. Let’s put in the time axing away at our business, but lets spend time also sharpening our axe. So that each day we become better than the next and really grow.
I myself have been failing in some aspect on sharpening my axe lately. Studying personal development has become like a roller-coaster, one month I will read 3 books, and then the next month none. I tried once to read a book every week but I failed, miserably.
Although I just received my Kindle in the mail today, probably one of the best devices for learning I have ever come across of. I liked it so much I bought one for my dad the same day. Now I have access to all the best business books and books on philosophy in a second, I can download through the air instantly and read them immediately. All my library is now on a single device which is must easier to read than a single book, I strongly believe now with this tool I can really read one book a week. I’m going to give it all to start this up, if I can read one book a week that is over 56 great books on entrepreneurship in a year.
I plan on sharing as many ideas from the book with you as I possibly can, it’s good for you and me.
I would also like to extend an open invitation to anyone who is serious about entrepreneurship to join me a new mastermind personal development group. I thought about putting together one over a year ago, and now were going to do it. If anyone here is interested in reading one great book a week and discussing them each week please comment here and we’ll get together a group of 10-20 serious people who are interested in seriously sharpening their skills.
In order to read a book each week you will be probably have to dedicated an hour to two hours per day in order to accomplish this, it is a lot of work, and it is not for the light-hearted, reading one book a week is extremely hard, yet I believe, it will be extremely rewarding if we can get it down. I need your help, sometimes the best way to get big things done is to get work-out partners who help each other get through. If I find you slacking on reading I’m going to get on you, and I’d expect you to get on me. So if your interested in joining me in a new reading mastermind mind group, please let me know and we’ll do this. I might require everyone to have a kindle, as a serious requirement, its $359, but the best money you can spend is money invested into self-development. Don’t short-change yourself when it comes to your own education. I’m not asking anyone to buy a piece of junk, I’m asking you to invest in something that if used, will earn you literally millions maybe billions if you are really sharp, in the near future.
I hope you again found some value in this post. Remember the story and the quote by Abraham Lincoln, “If I had six hours to cut down trees, I’d spend the first three hours sharpening my axe, and the last three cutting down the trees.” How many hours this week did you spend sharpening your axe?