Posted: November 17, 2021 in: Pain-2-Power

One Important Thing Abraham Lincoln Knew

Abraham Lincoln said plenty of smart and wise things, but this bit of advice from him is one of my favorites, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

Real preparation, Lincoln advises us, is two-thirds of getting the job done.  Yet, though many of us might agree with that vision, lots of us will still have trouble operationalizing it.  That’s because waiting to act can cause worry.  Planning and putting pieces in place to achieve a goal may not feel as good as getting underway.

One way to defeat the worry that leads to launching a business, product, campaign, cause or any project prematurely is to actually write down the timeline that will lead to that launch.  When you can see the steps being taken, just as surely as President Lincoln would have seen the edge of his axe being honed, then you can feel steadied as your momentum builds.

Another way to defeat worry related to doing the needed planning to launch a project is to remind yourself that the world has more room in it for excellence than it does for mediocrity.  Competition abounds.  Cutting corners and quality, by rushing to actualize anything, cuts down on its chances for success.

The world has more room in it for excellence than for mediocrity.

–Keith Ablow, MD

I remember meeting with Sebastian Junger, the author of novel The Perfect Storm, years ago.  I asked him how long it had taken him to write the book.  “Seven years,” he told me.  What was he doing the rest of the time?  He was working as a tree surgeon.  There’s beauty in that because the real tree he was working on—to get it just perfect—was his book.  And that’s one reason it succeeded so dramatically and has a chance to stand the test of time.  I don’t think he could he have written it just as well in three years?  I don’t think he could have written it just as well in six.

If you’re old enough to remember the Ernest & Julio Gallo commercials that insisted, “We will sell no wine before its time,” then you will have one more vantage point to see I’m coming from.  I can’t say that brand resonates with me, but their corporate creed certainly does.

Sharpen your axe.  Your dreams deserve it.

–Keith Ablow, MD

What are some of the elements of creating that actually take time?  For one, thinking about serving the audience you are seeking.  It takes time to truly think about exactly how you would like to do for them—whether adding beauty to their world via art or adding convenience to their lives via technology or adding well-being to their lives via a new health care delivery system.

For another thing, it takes time to think about the non-fiction story that must unfold to actualize your creation.  What sort of team will have to be assembled?  What funding is needed?  What marketing will have to be done?

This certainly isn’t about aim, aim, aim . . . before firing.  It’s not about hesitating to begin.  It is about beginning, in earnest, by beginning effective planning.

Sharpen your axe.  Your dreams deserve it.

Dr. Keith Ablow

Click HERE to schedule a complimentary discovery call with Dr. Keith Ablow.

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