Sharpen the saw

Do you ever feel you should be keeping yourself on top of the things?

Actively or passively, you keep experiencing life every single moment. Better if you experience it actively as you get an opportunity to be on top of the things and live an intentional life.

The roots of an intentional life are in the principles that you surround your life actions around. Those principles in life stay with you; become a foundation of behind what you think, do and live. When you are clear about your guiding principles, you get a better sense of concluding what’s right and what’s not.

When you know what’s right, you’re all set to execute whatever is needed and get things done.

When you know what’s right, you’d naturally be on top of the things. The reason is simple – you want to do more of the right things.

When you do more of the right things (and some wrong things too), you keep sharpening your saw.

And, in today’s world, whether you like it or not, not sharpening the saw is not an option.

Sun Tzu, author of the famed ‘Art of War’ famously said,

“Even the finest sword plunged into salt water will eventually rust.”

If the finest sword cannot handle it, how would you?

Sharpen your saw.

If you don’t have cultivated the habit of sharpening your saw, start today. It is the seventh one from the famous book by Stephen Covey: Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

We all are born with an innate ability, quality or gift.

But what separates the sheep from the goats is the time invested in sharpening the saw. It is the time invested in taking your abilities to the next level.

If you have ever tried to cut fruit with an edgeless knife, you’d know exactly what I’m talking about.

Don’t be like an edgeless knife. When edgelessness enters, people start questioning the essence of a knife.

By challenging ourselves and continuously investing in sharpening our saw, we ensure that we, the knife, have an edge.

No edge, no knife; isn’t it?

Here’re three habits that will help you keep your saw sharpened:

1. The habit of sharp observation

Why would sharp observation help you to be on top? The reason is simple. Observation expands your perspectives; Sharp observation adds an edge of clarity while expanding your perspectives.

In order to be on top of the things, you need to be knowing exactly what you’re doing. Observation is the most powerful tool for that.

Observe. Observe sharply. Be on top of the things with laser-like clarity.

2. The habit of executing even on the face of uncertainties

Get clear on this. People who are always on top of the things are not the ones have everything specified or have 100% certainty. They also have partial clarity and their share of fears because of partial clarity.

The differentiator is this: they still execute. They don’t know whether they will be successful or not. All they know is: if they don’t execute, they’ll not be successful. When they execute things that others do not, others presume whatever they are doing may be right and they follow them. While this is not necessarily true, but it works more often than not.

The habit of executing even on the face of uncertainties makes you apart from others. It gives a natural boost of your ability to be on top of the things. This is one state where you will always find less competition, too!

3. The habit of being comfortable with uncomfortable situations

Now, this is related to the habit of executing even on the face of uncertainties.

Uncomfortable situations breed inaction. People do not want to be in uncomfortable situations and they try to find an escape route. Escaping from something doesn’t solve problems; it allows problems to get stronger.

When you learn to be comfortable with uncomfortable situations, the first thing you’d do is to learn to control your negative emotions. The negative self-talk that invites you to escape from an uncomfortable situation loses its value when you learn to control your negative emotions.

Now, what does that mean?

It simply means that you will not be derived from uncomfortable situations and do something reactively. You will learn to deal proactively with your situations, regardless of their kind, and still execute.

And here comes my favorite quote:

“No actions; no results. Everything else is a commentary!”

All these habits help you unblock the situations that don’t allow you to take actions.

Actions, not mere talks, will keep you on the top.

You don’t need an invitation to sharpen your saw, take actions and make a difference. Don’t wait for one.

Question: How do you sharpen your saw? Feel free to share your experiences.