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Sharpen the Saw

Brian Tracy quote about continuous learning

Stephen Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People identified habit number 7 as “Sharpen the Saw”!

That book was written 25 years ago, yet its teachings are as relevant today as they were then!

Habit number 7 has become even more important today because of the pace of change in today’s world.

What does “sharpen the saw” mean?

Covey’s portrays the “saw” as the tool that needs to be sharp in order to do its job well.  If the carpenter waits for the saw to get blunt before sharpening the blade then the quality of work will be affected.  The best carpenters will always have a sharp saw, which means good tools and therefore the best results.

The tools most of us use in today’s knowledge society are our experience and knowledge.

Covey is advocating lifelong learning!  He is telling us that in order to be successful we should always be learning … or we let our tools get blunt and the quality of our work suffers.

Here are five reasons why people do NOT invest in learning:

  1. They think they know it all already.

  2. They are unwilling to make the effort.

  3. They don’t see the value in learning.

  4. They feel that they learn by doing the job.

  5. They believe that learning is done in school, and now they are in the real world.

Here is reality:

  1. The world is changing at an incredible pace … your knowledge today will be obsolete in a few short years.

  2. The person who DOES continue to learn  is pulling away from you … no matter how good you think you are.

  3. Employees that demonstrate a willingness, or better yet an eagerness to learn are far more valuable to an employer than the alternative.

  4. When change catches up with you it is like the

    frog in the pan of water that is slowly brought to the boil.  It happens slow enough that you don’t see it coming, but the effect is the same as if the frog was dropped in boiling water!

  5. If you take every chance possible to learn, then you have a chance to compete into the future!

As Nike says, “Just Do it!!!