The Blunt Edge

Once there was a group of men—a young, hot-blooded guy and a bunch of old folks. Their job was to chop down trees in the jungle.  The young chap was very hard working. He always continued to work through his break time and often complained that the older folk were wasting time, taking breaks throughout the day to drink and chat. As time went by, this young guy noticed that even though he worked through break time and hardly took a rest, the old folks were chopping down more trees than he was.  So he decided to work even harder; unfortunately, the results kept on getting worse!

One day, one of the old folks invited him for a drink during their break time. The young guy refused and said he had no extra time to spend!  The old man smiled at him and said, “It is just a waste of effort to keep chopping trees without re-sharpening your knife. Sooner or later you will give up as you have spent too much energy.” Suddenly the young man realized that actually, during break times while those old folks were having a chat, they were also re-sharpening their knives at the same time!  And that’s how they could chop faster than him while spending lesser time.

The above story is an attempt to address one of the FAQs that employees often ask their employer “What am I supposed to do when I have less or no work and yet I am expected to clock the stipulated number of work hours?”  Sharpen your knife—is the answer.  Instead of viewing the lean periods with frustration, we should look at them as an excellent opportunity to gain a competitive edge.  A self-learner who leverages spare time to continuously upgrade knowledge base is better equipped to chop off complex project issues in the future.  This strategy not only allows us to grow faster on the professional front, but also enables us to do so while maintaining a good work-life balance.

Adapted, Skills, Knowledge, Style


  1. Excellent way of narrating story.

  2. It was motivating and lesson learnt in this article.

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The Blunt Edge - Arun Nathani Blog