Are You Too Busy Cutting Trees?

Are You Too Busy Cutting Trees?

By John H. Sklare, Ed.D


For those who want to lose weight and get healthy, one of the biggest obstacles to overcome is not becoming overwhelmed with this formidable task. In a nutshell, the more weight you have to lose, the longer it will take. I was thinking about this the other day when I ran across a short parable that brought it all home for me. It goes like this:

Once upon a time a very strong woodcutter went to work for a timber merchant. The pay was good and so were the work conditions. For that reason, the woodcutter was determined to do his best. On the first day, his boss gave him an axe and showed him the area where he was supposed to work. The first day, the woodcutter cut down 18 trees. “Congratulations,” the boss said. “Keep it up!” Very motivated by the boss’ words the woodcutter tried even harder the next day but found that he was only able to cut down 15 trees on day two. The next day he tried even harder but, at the end of day three, he had only cut down 10 trees. Day after day he found himself cutting down fewer and fewer trees. “I must be losing my strength,” the woodcutter thought. He went to the boss and apologized saying that he could not understand what the problem was. “When was the last time you sharpened your axe?” the boss asked. “Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been too busy cutting trees…” 

This little parable about cutting trees beautifully captures a major mistake made by those wanting to lose weight, reclaim their bodies and live a healthier life. Each day provides you with numerous opportunities to “sharpen your axe.” Each healthy choice you make sharpens your axe and you simply can’t get where you want to go without sharpening your axe every day. You must tend to the issues of today before you can realistically entertain thoughts of tomorrow. So I suggest you look forward to each day’s choices. Because each health decision that you make provides you with an opportunity to sharpen your axe, take down another tree in the Weight-Loss Forest and close the gap between who you are and who you want to be.

Let me know what you think! :)

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