207 – Happiness Is A Sharp Chain

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Happiness Is A Sharp Chain…

So I live up here in Washington State and I heat my house with wood.  I have been cutting a lot of firewood this past year, because that’s just what you have to do when you have wood heat. 

Sometimes I will be going along and not realize that the chain on my saw has gotten dull.  It happens gradually so it’s easy not to notice unless you are really paying close attention.  When I’m working I get totally focused on the task I’m doing so sometimes I go too long without sharpening the chain.

I should notice though, because the work becomes harder and harder.  As the chain becomes more dull you have to push harder and harder to accomplish the same amount of cutting.

When I finally realize the chain is dull and I sharpen it, it’s like a whole new world.  What was difficult a few moments before has now become easy.  It’s like the bar drags itself through the logs instead of me having to push it and wrestle it every inch of the way.  Happiness truly is a sharp chain. 

It occurred to me today as I was cutting some wood with a sharp chain, that life is kind of like that too.  When we are paying attention to all the little aspects of our life—when our life is sharp, it’s much easier.

Just like me with that chainsaw though, if we get too focused on one thing or stop paying attention for whatever reason…our life goes from sharp to dull.  Exactly like the chain saw, it happens gradually.  Life just gets a little harder every day and we don’t really notice it until it’s as dull as a butterknife. 

We finally notice it one day when we wake up and realize our life is a mess, with lots of problems that won’t go away.   We have been too focused on some things and not focused enough on others, and now we are cutting wood with a dull chain.

The remedy my friends, is to never let your chain get that dull in the first place.  The other day I was cutting some wood and I hit a nail that was in it.  It destroyed my chain and I had to get a new one.  Stuff like that happens sometimes in life too and we have to deal with it the best we can.

However, the rest of the time it’s up to us.  We have to check our chain, or our life, on a daily basis and make sure it’s sharp.  That’s really the only effective way to do it.  If we check it every day we can get the file and sharpen it up if we need to.  We won’t be surprised by a dull chain.  Our life won’t get as hard to deal with if we tend to it on a daily basis instead of waiting for something to go wrong.

I realize I’m not really telling anyone anything they don’t know here.  All of this is common sense and any reasonably intelligent person knows that it’s better to be prepared for life and be current on all of your responsibilities instead of just letting things go until it’s a big mess.  I do not mean to insult your intelligence by bringing this up.

Here’s my question though—if we all know this, then why don’t we all do it?  If we know that it’s better to have a sharp chain then why isn’t our chain sharp all the time?

It’s a good question, and any answer I came up with would be pure speculation.  I don’t even pretend to know exactly why humans are like this.  However, I do believe that it’s possible to get better at any thing, and practice is the method by which this happens.  I also believe that understanding what is lacking, is the first step toward making any improvement.

The whole reason for this podcast, and this episode is to help you keep these things in the upper crust of your consciousness.  That’s why I talk about this stuff, because it gives us all a better chance at remembering what is important.

I am also a big believer in the use of metaphor, like today with the chain saw.  A metaphor creates a picture in your head.  If I can picture my life being like the chain on my saw that needs to be looked and and sharpened every day…then I find that helpful.

What this all boils down to is what I started saying way back on the very first episode.  When I told you to look in the mirror every day and take account of yourself and your life, so you could make corrections where needed.  The term “every day” is a critical component of that formula.  It’s also the part most often missed.  Today’s metaphor is intended to help you visualize that “every day” part, and realize the necessity of it.

Now head out into the world with a sharp chain.  There is a lot of wood to be cut in your life and you will be able to do it a lot easier if your chain, and your life, is like a razor.  You will also notice that by keeping your life sharp, by checking in every day and making corrections where you need to, that you will be a better man today than you were yesterday.

Hey remember to to check out my new book, Forging A Man, available right now on Amazon.

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