That Woodcutter Story…


Have you heard about that woodcutter story? If you have, what are some of the life’s lessons you have drawn from that?

That woodcutter story is closer to our lives than we think. So let’s take a look at that story again..



This is a story of a young and driven woodcutter..

Once upon a time, a very strong woodcutter asked for a job in a timber and lumbering merchant. He got it.

The job pays well and the work conditions was really good.

For that, the woodcutter was determined to give his best.

On his first day of work, the woodcutter brought 20 trees.

“Excellent work,” the boss said. “Keep it up!”

Very motivated by the boss’ words, the woodcutter wanted to cut down more trees the next day and break his first record.

But he could only bring 15 trees.

The third day he tried even harder, but he could only bring 10 trees.

Day after day he was bringing lesser and lesser trees.

“I must be losing my strength”, the woodcutter thought. He went to the boss and apologized.

“When was the last time you sharpened your axe?” the boss asked.

“Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been very busy trying to cut trees…”

It is always good to be occupied and busy. It keeps our mind off things and it also helps to, more or less, secure that paycheck at the end of the month or week.

However, there are times where, like the woodcutter, we need to take time to sharpen that axe.


Your Axe?

Yes, we may not be woodcutters but we all have an ‘axe’. The question is;

What is our axe?

That axe can be a representation of many things. It could be;

a. our spiritual need to spend time to get closer to The Creator.

b. family

c. reading a book.

d. learning a new skill

and the list goes on..

We all have that ‘axe’.


Burned Out?

That woodcutter tried harder and harder, yet his numbers are getting lesser and lesser. Have you seen maybe your colleague being in this situation? Or have you, at any time, been in this situation?

The woodcutter, possibly, got burned out.

Have you heard about the term ‘burned out’?

If you have not, ‘burned out’ is used to describe a situation of overworking. It is not a myth and it is one of the common reasons why talents leave organizations. You see, when a talent leave an organization, it is a lose-lose situation, in most cases.


Hard Work

Hard work is a good work ethic and it is an important value to have. Good companies and even good governments, are formed and sustained by good people working hard, making sure everything is running.

However, like the woodcutter, it is important that we find time to grow, finding opportunities to ‘sharpen’ that axe.


Take Time, Develop You

It is important that we find time to develop our selves. Personal development is not about being able to walk on red, hot, burning thumb tacks and shouting your affirmation. It is definitely much more than that.

Personal development is about ‘feeding’ you holistically. Why is it important?

Here are 3 quick benefits from personal development..

  1. It takes your mind off your current work. This break is sure to recharge your ‘battery’ by improving your focus and effectiveness on that work.
  2. It is definitely a way to extinguish that burn out feeling you have. You will feel good about yourself and with that inner frustration gone, you will get a better sense of direction.
  3. You will learn something. Whether you take up a course or spending time with your family camping, you will learn something.

A few things I want you to take note; personal development is not just about that seminar or workshop that you register to attend. It can be any activity that you do that makes you feel more complete as a contributing human being.

Neglect that long enough and we will be dull… And no merchant will ever require the services of a dull woodcutter with an even duller axe..



  1. // Reply

    Hi Faisal, thanks for sharing this article. It is absolutely incredible. I am writing a book on personal growth, i will love to include this article in it and give you due credits. Is that okay with you?

    1. // Reply

      Hello there,

      Thank you for dropping by this humble blog and for taking the time to reach out to me.

      Yes, I am alright to have this article used in your book.

      All the best in your book and we look forward to see them in Amazon and our local bookstores.


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