Do you follow these two rules to win at life?

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I’ll spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
-Abraham Lincoln

After reading this eye-opening inspiring quote, we become compelled to think what is our axe and how can we make it sharp?

In 21st century, our mind is our axe, we all have this tool whether we use it or lose it. We all have different set of values, family tradition, education, profession, and guided by the same axe called mind. To become worthy, effective and valuable, the first rule to win at life is how to use this axe differently than others.
The interesting thing about this tool is its usage which is essential in the beginning but later it can bring a lot more value in life.

If we are thinking only for the work, we admire to do all the time then, we are not sharpening our mind. But if we are reducing the miscellaneous items from our life by doing them less every day, then we are sharpening our axe. The later approach of life cleans the mindset and heartset to accommodate the former more. This is a winning way to make our thinking sustainable. If we don’t make it sustainable, then we stop thinking differently.
This is a mental habit, a kind of meditation that help us to select fewer but important things rather than many passing by shiny objects in life.

If our heart and mind both work at same time for any task, we enter into the upper zone of thinking, decisions worth of value start to appear. New waves of thinking outside of periphery appears.
But if our heart and mind move in opposite directions randomly, progress is ceased, and chaos start to appear. This is all about how we practice sharpening the axe.

Thomas Edison carbonized and tested six thousand specimens of bamboo to find out a filament for his electric bulb. Imagine what kind of axe that is required to test six thousand specimens with no guarantee that anyone would work. His mind and heart were continuously moving in one direction to test more things. Suddenly he found three out of six thousand working perfect. The outcome of sharpened axe.

Few days ago, my daughter insisted me to go McDonald to eat. We went there and she ordered happy meal, she ordered happy meal because it comes with a toy. During my study I found that McDonald sells the highest number of toys in the world than any other toy company. It is McDonald, the king of the fast food that sells more toys when it serves happy meals for kids.
McDonald is not only selling hamburger but primarily selling time (fast) before food. We all feel this when we enter in drive-through lane, but now selling more toys with food than any other toy company. This is a result of epic thinking, an innovation from a sharpened axe. This is a lifestyle design for a kid, eat with a toy.

According to Dr Lara Boyd, a professor of medicine in the university of British Columbia, “our brain is not perfect, it grows, changes shape and size, and many neurons connect and disconnect all the times at all ages.” There is fascinating and inspiring Ted-Talk by her in YouTube. I recommend watching to understand the power of this axe in our body. This little organ, an unseen shield for us, depends on how we use it. One man’s trash could be another person’s treasure because of this tiny muscle inside two bones. These two persons think differently, they use their brain differently because their neuron’s connections are different. As a result, one person pays money to throw garbage from his house, but another person collects that garbage from each house and builds a business.

To be valuable, we should not be a person of knowing the price of everything but the value of nothing. The axe, our mind, teaches us to know the value of everything in life, if we practice properly. Valued thinking is guided mainly by motivation, not by trust. Motivation is another tool to sharpen our axe.
Trust mainly comes from family and comfort, but motivation comes from outside that zone. If mind is driven by some kind of motivation, then it goes in a new direction and produces something new than usual.
Our mind is designed to protect us. It cannot process everything naturally. If we give a very hard attention to it, it filters things. This is called focus. Focus makes a brain motivated which suffers a lot but shuts off noises and brings clarity. Ultimately, power, fame, and success all are results of motivated brain.
Motivated brain is a key to produce anything rare and valuable in the world.
Unique and different thinking in individual is so powerful that it brings incredible joy to person’s life. We’re not responsible for the brain we were given, we’re responsible for maxing out what we were given.

The second rule to win at life is how to differentiate between urgent and important tasks. This is another area where most of us fail to recognize early in our life.
Let’s take a very simple example. We used to study heavily in school and college because we used to have a test immediately in a following week. Cram everything possible so that we can vomit on the test and secure the good grade.
What about reading after the test where we didn’t have to attend the test, but we knew it would lead us somewhere good in life?
Anything beyond instant gratification needs motivation, otherwise we don’t do it because there is no immediate benefit behind it.

After studying Bill Gate’s life, I knew that he is an avid reader, he reads fifty books per year in average, that is typically one book per week. He is a graduate school drop-out from Harvard university even though his SAT score was 1590 out of 1600. His first company Traf-O-Data before Microsoft remained unsuccessful.
Just imagine how many books he distilled up to now and used the nuggets from them to build the empire, Microsoft.
The picture is clear, these many books have helped him to learn how to see things far in life beyond the immediate gratification of A+ grade in school.
The same study could become either urgent or important depending on us.
It becomes urgent because we need to pass the test, get a good grade, and forget everything the whole life.
Or it could also become important and change our life without any test or grade in life. We become motivated to learn more in life by our own curriculum designed by our axe.
Formal education gives a living, but self-education gives a life.
If we are able to differentiate urgent and important early in our career then, we become extremely powerful axe ourself, generally called mastermind in the field.

The very important lesson I learned from Tony Robbins very recently is, you are not what you read or get information always but what you do consistently with that information in private every day.

What you do a single motivated task is far more important than how many things you do in a day.
A lot of time we become busy to avoid the most important task of the day because we are unable to distinguish between urgent and important tasks and always lag behind in life. This is the result of having a dull axe, untrained mind.
Most of the important tasks in life are optional.
Anything compulsory or urgent in life makes us poor, average, and mediocre but anything optional makes us creative, unique, and innovative.
Suffering is optional but that what separates us from everybody else.
Keep in mind, everyone is interested in compulsory but very few people are interested in optional. This is the only reason why Albert Einstein and Bill Gates are different from us.
By the way, I didn’t say anything about the genius Albert Einstein in the whole content, but he also got F in math test. Probably he messed up with urgent task by focusing too much on important task.
Sharpen your axe before to chop down a tree.
You got it.
-Yam Timsina