My son has a fascination with knives, and he has quite a little collection, from samurai swords to fancy box cutters. He takes pretty decent care of them, and sometimes he spends time sharpening his knives so they split a piece of paper with just a little flip. It’s impressive to watch.
I don’t know who said it originally, but my friend told me about a quote this morning: “If you sharpen your blade too much, you lose your edge.” It stayed on my mind all day because it was thought-provoking. My friend and I were talking about it in terms of workload; sometimes the workload gets crazy with many projects in the air at the same time, and it may take one project more to send the whole juggling act to the ground. We were saying that when we get in that overload mode, that we don’t get downtime, and downtime is when we’re most creative. We all need that time to breathe. That helps us keep our edge.
The quote could also apply to working so long on getting ready for something that we never actually get to the goal. We work to make something look nice, and then we work on it some more, and then a bit more, and we never get around to actually doing it. At some point, we have to lose that perfectionistic tendency and go with what we have. Sometimes a dull knife is preferable to not being able to cut at all.
Then I thought about how we often get distracted by our many “improvement projects,” always to make ourselves more knowledgeable, or more attractive, or more marketable. Improving ourselves is good, but what about spending time on the things we’re really good at and passionate about? Don’t get me wrong. I love growing with new tasks and learning new things, but instead of being pulled in many directions, what if I really spend improvement time on my passions? You’ve probably heard the saying: “Practice doesn’t make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.” My edge can never be truly sharp if I don’t hone my skill.
DAY 257 HOMEWORK: Maybe this quote has given you something to think about. What are you over-sharpening? Where do you need to gain your edge again? Maybe it gave you a totally different insight. If so, share your ideas with someone today.