“Sharpen the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have–you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.
– Stephen Covey
The idea to sharpen the saw or blade comes from the analogy that a blade that is consistently sharpened will never get dull. It will always stay on sharp. Same with people. If we stop working out, we will eventually lose our muscles and become weaker. If we stop exercising our mind, we will lose our vigor.
- Take time off every once in a while to work on the skills that got you where you are
- Patience is an important part of sharpening the saw
- We usually hit a plateau before we fall behind. Learning to identify the plateau is key
- Sharpening the saw is a habit and like any habit, it requires will power of consistency to form it
- Once we advance in an area, our mind will unconsciously look for shortcuts
- It’s hard to get on top, but it’s easy to stay there. Get too comfortable though, and it’s downhill
- Drop the ego. The illusion of being right all the time leaves no room for learning
Learn to Stay on Top – Sharpen the Saw
Learning a sport or a technique of any kind usually leads us to develop a style in that area. Often times, we become so indoctrinated in that style that we cannot see the benefit of trying something new. This is because we’re really comfortable where we are. This is where we learn to sharpen the saw.We take time off our hands to relearn the game from a different angle so to speak. It will feel frustrating and awkward at first, but it’s necessary to keep us on top and possibly break a plateau.
It’s usually common practice to eliminate from our technique or skill set what we use least. Sometimes that means reducing our arsenal. This is something we have to be careful of. Taking a deep breath, being patient and going over the fundamentals again will help keep you at the top of your game. This may seem like a no brainer, but remember, you have to approach your skill from a different angle. So if you want to work on your learning. Try learning by memory instead of through visual cues.
The best way to stay on top of your game and sharpen the saw is by completely rebooting every once in a while. Try to learn in a different way, play your sport with a different technique, hang out with new friends. Challenge your own perceptions and your own comfort!