Sven and Jack are two hearty loggers. One day, Jack competes Sven: who can hand cut the most trees in a single day? Sven, full of confidence, accepts the challenge.
The rules are simple: each gets one axe to fall the most trees by the end of the day. The winner gets a gourmet lunch prepared by the other for a whole week.
When the whistle blows, Jack picks up his axe and gets right to work. Sven takes a different route. Instead of whisking to his first tree, he pulls out his sharpening tools, sits down with his back against a stump, and spends 45-minutes honing the serrated edges on his trusty tool.
The other loggers taunt Sven. “What are you wasting so much time for? Hope you like wearing a chef’s hat!”
But Sven knows better. He knows the 45 minutes look like wasted time, but they will shift into many more minutes in productive tree-cutting.
When Sven finally starts, Jack is a full trees ahead of him. But he’s also tired. The dull axe is overworking him, and he’s slowing down. Sven, however, rips through tree after tree. His razor-sharp axe falls them effortlessly.
By early afternoon, Jack has given up. He’s hunched over, exhausted. Sven blows past him, falling trees well into the evening and, at the end of the day, stands tall looking over his accomplishment without so much as a heavy breath.
To Be Successful, Sharpen Your Axe With Exercise
The reason Sven chose to sharpen his axe rather than hurl into the trees, is the same reason most successful people on Earth also are morning runners.
Bill Gates, Oprah, Richard Branson. They’ve all revealed that, though they’re incredibly busy, they go for a run each morning before jumping into work. Why do they make this a priority when the demands on their time are so great? Do they want to be all-star athletes? No. They do it because exercise helps them be their best.
I have tried this myself. Before I was a runner, I was trying to save as much energy as I could for my work following the day. After a while doing my morning running routine, something really got in me. My mind was sharp and I was energetic. I started solving the hardest task first and increase productivity, I could work swiftly, and I didn’t barely wait to lay down after work.
Just like the smart logger Sven, I cultivated a habit to significantly increase my energy and productivity by “sharpening my axe” with a morning running routine before I started doing my passionate duty.
However, In 2014 three medical researchers conducted a randomized controlled trial testing the effects of aerobic exercise for people with a sedentary lifestyle. Through several different tests, they learned even a little light exercise improved feelings of energy. And some preliminary research on mice has shown exercise might slow the aging of the brain.
If you want the benefit of better energy and a sharper mind, the research says you just need to get a bit of aerobic exercise. Take a little time, every day, to sharpen your axe. If it feels like you don’t have time, remind yourself it’s the exact opposite that’s true.