7. Sharpen the Saw - Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal:
The author starts the chapter with a story about a man who is cutting a tree in the woods since a couple of hours. When advised to rest for sometime, sharpen his saw and then alone get back to work, he replies that he doesn't have time to sharpen his saw, because he's too busy sawing.
How many of us, when burdened with work, resist taking a break, thinking that spending even a minute to rejuvenate will be a waste of time? I sure have! However, this kind of behavior not only slows down our work, but it also makes us too overwhelmed to work for long. If we do not ensure that we take care of our physical and mental health on a daily basis, the stress will manifest into diseases which are far too difficult to control.
Four Dimensions of Renewal:
Physical: Exercise, Nutrition, Stress Management
Social/Emotional: Service, Empathy, Synergy, Intrinsic Security
Spiritual: Value Clarification & Commitment, Study & Meditation
Mental: Reading, Visualizing, Planning, Writing
"'Sharpen the Saw' basically means expressing all four motivations. It means exercising all four dimensions of our nature, regularly and consistently, in wise and balanced ways. To do this, we must be proactive. Personal P/C must be pressed upon until it becomes second nature, until it becomes a kind of healthy addiction. Because it's at the center of our Circle of Influence, no one else can do it for us. We must do it for ourselves."
The author explains that the self-renewal process should include a balanced renewal in all four dimensions. He goes on to explain how each of the dimensions are interrelated -- the things you do to sharpen the saw in any one dimension, has an impact on the other dimensions. Similarly, if you neglect any one dimension, it will negatively impact the others.
"The Daily Private Victory -- a minimum of one hour a day in renewal of the physical, spiritual and mental dimensions -- is the key to the development of the Seven Habits and it's completely within your Circle of Influence. It is the Quadrant II focus time necessary to integrate these habits into your life, to become principle-centered. It is also the foundation of The Daily Public Victory."
The author ends the chapter with the concept of the upward spiral -- he writes that renewal is the principle and the process that empowers us to move on an upward spiral of growth and change, of continuous improvement. To keep progressing, we must learn, commit, and do -- learn, commit, and do -- and learn, commit, and do again.
My final thoughts on the book:
As I mentioned in my first summary of this book, while reading the book, I found it to be a very theoretical read, and quite frankly, very boring. But now, as I write the last summary, I can say with full certainty that my views have completely changed! This book is a complete masterpiece, and it's concepts are present in almost all the self-help books I have read till date.
I have mentioned this before, that self-help books aren't really helpful unless you break down the concepts and put them into practice. And this will happen only if you read the book more than once. Summarizing this book has helped me break down each of the habits, and has helped me find ways in which I can utilize them in my daily life.
It is an incredible read, and I would suggest that you read each chapter of the book, and then read my summaries -- this will help you to renew the concepts in your mind.
Note : I have only summarized and mentioned those excerpts which I found enlightening. Do read the book to learn about the concepts in greater detail.
Thank you for reading! Stay blessed!