What Abraham Lincoln said…

Posted on December 24, 2010

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Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Now this is another of those fully loaded statements, which has many times stuff than it seems to point out apparently. May be it is the way we would like to interpret it for our convenience! Often it is just a play of words that is needed for success to succeed. This success required for us to be successful comes through successful attempts that lead to success.
What Lincoln says can be taken as a lesson of patience. Just give it a thought – Would you have the patience to sharpen the axe for four hours? I’m already having second thoughts!!!
Sharpening of axe is the preparatory period – a time when we need to plan for our later actions. It is this planning if done carefully, patiently and with precision, devotion, earnest intentions and concentration, can help us reap us fruits of success.
Patience and planning are the perfect ingredients of a success story. Many of us would be familiar with a story we heard or read in our childhood – ‘The Hen that Laid Golden Eggs’. The farmer didn’t have the patience; he was blinded by his extreme greed. Apart from that what added to his misery was his poor planning. He could have enjoyed the luxury of having an egg of gold daily. But he failed miserably and ended up being empty-handed.
In the twenty first century, man has made his life so rapid paced that he wants everything he wants at his disposal in no time, that is, within the time taken for batting of an eyelid. They adopt shortcuts for achieving their dreams. The X-generation doesn’t want to ‘waste’ time on paving way to their dream goals.
Here what comes to my mind is the incident that happened in the life of two college-going friends, X and Y. There was a basic difference in their attitude towards life. X believed in planning for whatever he had to do. It was ingrained in his habits that he prepared a ‘to-do list’ for each day. Y would often mock at this habit of his friend. He termed it as something very kiddish. He was of the view that we can remember what we are to do according to our needs and that we can decide on the spur of the moment. Within two years of his leaving college, he established himself as a successful architect. But Y was still on the lookout for a job and was almost frustrated at not being able to carve out a niche for himself in the professional field. What I wanted to convey by quoting this anecdote was that it was the variation of their outlook and approach towards life that led to totally contrasting results for both of them. It is very important to mention here that both had similar intellectual capacities. They possessed a good knowledge about their subject and also had the skills to apply that knowledge practically. In other words, they had all that it takes to be successful in one’s respective field.
I wonder if I lost track of what Lincoln’s quote conveys. But anyway it was just a stream of thoughts that brought me to the point where I am going to end my post. Now I myself am guilty of not having planned before writing this post and look where it has brought me!
Now I should better hold my tongue, rather restrict my hands from typing or I’ll have to chew my words! And that is the toughest thing to digest!!!
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Posted in: my articles, quotes