The Value of Tools – The “Work Harder” Approach

The “Work Harder” Approach (taken from Educational Leadership magazine, April 2013)

Once upon a time, two loggers had a contest to determine who could cut the most logs in a 4-hour period. Henri worked continuously for 4 hours without a break and cut 124 logs to specification. His opponent, Jacques, chopped just as hard but only for 50 minutes of each hour. Jacques took four 10-minute breaks but cut 144 logs to specification. Henri lost the contest but was furious. Henri complained that he was cheated since Jacques could not have cut that many logs because there were periods when he was not chopping. Then Jacques explained that during his breaks he didn’t rest. He sharpened his axe.

There is a great deal of emphasis on being a hard worker or a “tireless chopper” in our society. We also tend to conform; to do things in the same way because “that’s the way it always has been done”. I can just imagine how incensed Henri must have been! It was impossible for him to imagine a better way. Yet there was.

We live in an age where there are so many tools at our disposal. Tools which can make chopping the wood just a little easier and quicker. A single book can contain information that can greatly enhance a person’s enjoyment of life. Of course there are other tools as well.

What tools are on your tool belt?



2 responses to “The Value of Tools – The “Work Harder” Approach

  1. Paulette I. Vermette

    I stopped going in circle! I always ask myself : “There must be a better way to accomplish this task?”. My husband reminds me: “Mind over matter!”

  2. This is a great post. We all should think more actively about our motivation; the importance of breaks as a way to unwind, because when we rest our minds are not actually resting, but constantly thinking. Often, it’s during this “rest” that some of our most brilliant ideas arise.

    During my breaks, I don’t sit around and do nothing, or check my Facebook—I don’t even have one anymore—but I watch TED Talks, look at art, read the news and fiction. I rarely watch movies, and TV is so 2009 for me. I find books and TED Talks to be creatively stimulating because unexpectedly, they can spark some inspiration that wouldn’t have been possible if I were to work all the time.

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