It’s harder to rest sometimes than it is to just go. It can be a constant struggle for me as I bounce between the extremes of being too busy and then slowing down. I often feel that if I stop for a moment I will lose my momentum and have to work twice as hard to get back to where I was. Then I learned about the power of disengaging. That it is even more important to stop and slow down as you are moving forward. The clarity I get when I pause and look around is only attainable by remembering to sharpen the saw.
Once upon a time there were two men in a wood-chopping contest. They were tasked with chopping down as many trees in the forest as they could from sun-up to sun-down. The winner would be rewarded with both fame and fortune.
From morning till noon, both men steadily chopped and chopped. By noon they were neck and neck, but then one man took a break and stopped chopping. The other man saw this and thought to himself: “The lazy fool, he’s probably taken a break for lunch. He’s given me a chance to get ahead of him and I will without doubt win this contest!”
A while later the man got back to work. As the day continued he chopped more trees than his hard-working (and hungry) competitor and by mid-afternoon he had taken a clear lead.
When sundown came, the man who had taken the break at noon had chopped almost twice as many trees as the other man, who was drenched in sweat, hungry and exhausted.
“How did you beat me?” he asked puzzled. “You were lazier than I and even took a break for lunch!”
“Ah,” said the other man, “I did take a break, but it was during that break, that I sharpened my axe.”