In my land there is a popular sport that consists of cutting logs. It's called Aizkolaritza, name in Basque. It usually takes place at festivals and popular events and whoever cuts logs faster than the opponent wins.
One day, while visiting a village deep in the Basque Country, I met an old man from the area whose conversation I really enjoyed. He was a book full of wisdom. Talking about work and wanting to succeed, he told me an aiskolaris story that really touched me and made me reflect on how we approach work.
He said like this:
Once upon a time there were two aizkolaris who were considered the most avid in the area.
They both grew up cutting wood and there was no one who came close to the skill and speed with which they did it. One day they agreed to measure themselves, to see who of the two was capable of cutting the most logs in a given time.
They began the competition at a frantic pace, swinging their axes with precision at breakneck speed. In fact, only a noise was heard, since both were going exactly at the same speed.
Suddenly, one of them saw out of the corner of his eye that his opponent paused, to which he was glad to see. "If we go at the same pace and he stops, it means I'm gaining ground!" He thought.
Before long, his opponent stood up, energetically continuing with the chopping task at the same pace as his compatriot. This situation was repeated a couple of times. They were going at exactly the same pace, but one of them took several pauses.
Time was up, and the competitor who had not stopped at any time was confident that he would be the winner, since he had not taken breaks and they had kept the same cutting cadence.
When carrying out the log count, it was surprising to see that the other aizkolari, the one who had stopped several times, was the one who had won! The loser could not believe itt! How could he have beaten him if he hadn't taken any breaks and they had kept same pace?
So intrigued he asked his opponent:
“How have you managed to beat me if you have taken breaks to rest?“
To which the winner replied:
"You're wrong. I was not resting, but sharpening the blade".
How often do we sharpen our blades in our work and life? Do we take breaks to recharge and gain focus and perspective?