The tale of two wood cutters

June 21, 2021

Once upon a time in a land not so far away lived two wood cutters who worked together in the forest, their names were Billy and Frederick. They were happy in their work, and would chop and chat all day long. One day Billy said “Frederick, you and I have worked together for many years, working our way through this forest, but I have often wondered which of us is the best wood cutter, I propose that today we have a competition to see who can shop the most wood.”

Frederick thought about this for a moment and quickly agreed, he was younger and stronger than Billy and he was sure that he would win.

They took up their axes and their positions by their trees and the competition began. They both began chopping as fast as they could. After about an hour Frederick realised that he could not hear Billy chopping “ah, he must be tired already and taking a break” he thought. This drove Frederick on to chop even faster, “I will win this competition easily” he chuckled to himself. After about 15 minutes he heard the sound of Billy’s axe once again and the competition was back on. Frederick was just beginning to feal weary when he realised Billy had once again stopped chopping. Forgetting his own tiredness Frederick continued on motivated by the sweet smell of victory! 

This went on all day long, every hour Billy would stop chopping for 15 minutes and Frederick would continue on, weary, but certain now in his own mind, that victory was his.

At the end of the day Billy & Frederick ended the competition and put down their axes. To Fredericks astonishment Billy had cut down more trees and was announced the winner!

“That is impossible” cried Frederick “I heard you stop working for 15 minutes every hour, how is it possible that you could have chopped more wood than me?”

“Well it is very simple” Billy replied “each time I stopped working, whilst you were still chopping, I was sharpening my axe” 


I love this story, it is such a great illustration of how everyone nowadays seems so busy. We seem to fill up every moment in every day, leaving no time to rest and renew. We overwork ourselves until our energy has been depleted, our minds are overwhelmed, our moods are low and we are simply exhausted. In this state our productivity declines, our decision making becomes poor and our work standards slip.

Making time and space in our lives to learn and grow allows our wisdom to bloom and our creativity to flow, but resting is only putting our axe down, in order to truly sharpen our axe, we need to renew our resilience and bring our lives back into balance.

Check out our blog on Being Aware of what Keeps your Mind Healthy  And make some time in your life to Sharpen Your Axe.

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