Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sharpen the saw.

This is Steve Covey's last habit of his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Have you ever tried to cut wood with a dull saw or ax? How about trying to carve the Thanksgiving turkey with a dull knife? How about trying to enter a conversation with some quick-witted thinkers having a dull mind? I suppose that is sort of like trying to be interested in one of cousin Harvey's oft told war stories after all that monosodium glutenate you partook of at the Thanksgiving feast.

It is absolutely necessary to sharpen the saw. I just finished reading a continuing ed course book and taking the test. In order to renew my real estate broker license every two years I have to earn 14 hours of continuing education credits. That exercise forces me to study various facets of my profession and try to sharpen up on them. It is the same with all people who are licensed to practice a profession. Even physicians have to earn 36 hours of continuing education credits to renew their licenses to practice every three years. My physician son-in-law is on his way to Washington, DC in a couple of weeks to a medical convention where he will earn so many CME's.

Sharpening the saw is absolutely essential. No matter what we do in life we have to renew ourselves. We should constantly be challenging our minds with good reading material. We ought to be active in a church, synagogue or a social club. We should surround ourselves with good friends. People that we just flat out enjoy being around that stimulate us and stretch our horizons a bit. Don't discount the influence of your family. Don't let too much time go by without drinking from the fountain of family memories.

Last year about this time my wife, Nancy, was in a rehab hospital recovering from a life threatening infection. Our daughter, Beth, went to the specific effort to schedule a week for us in the Smokies around the end of July. Nancy and I thought long and hard about going because she was so weak. We decided finally to give it a try. If it got too hard on her then we were only about a 7 hour ride home.

That week was one of the most important aspects of her recovery. She had cousins from New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina all come to enjoy being together. We had a Bar B Que one afternoon where we had almost 50 people. Some of the younger Mothers had organized water balloon races and fights and a talent show for the children. It was the zenith point of our week together. Nancy tied up with an old college room mate who came over and visited one night. That was a night of laughing and telling tall tales and was restorative on its own.

Whilst I worked for corporate America over my thirty years of service we had a CEO of our company named Kurt Landgraf. He ended up being the COO of DuPont. He would always speak to us off the cuff. He would often say to us that the company had a pretty liberal vacation policy. " Take your vacation. Get away from your job. That is very important !" Doggone if that wasn't so. Every time I took off and played a little golf or went on a trip with my family I came back renewed and a little more enthusiastic about my job.

Sharpen the saw. It is vitally important.

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