The story of a woodcutter

by Stephen on June 4, 2012 · 70 comments

in Motivational Stories

Once upon a time, a very strong woodcutter asked for a job in a timber merchant and he got it. The pay was really good and so was the work condition. For those reasons, the woodcutter was determined to do his best.

His boss gave him an axe and showed him the area where he supposed to work.

The first day, the woodcutter brought 18 trees.

“Congratulations,” the boss said. “Go on that way!”

Very motivated by the boss words, the woodcutter tried harder the next day, but he could only bring 15 trees. The third day he tried even harder, but he could only bring 10 trees. Day after day he was bringing less and less trees.

“I must be losing my strength”, the woodcutter thought. He went to the boss and apologized, saying that he could not understand what was going on.

“When was the last time you sharpened your axe?” the boss asked.

“Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been very busy trying to cut trees…”



Our lives are like that. We sometimes get so busy that we don’t take time to sharpen the “axe”. In today’s world, it seems that everyone is busier than ever, but less happy that ever.

Why is that? Could it be that we have forgotten how to stay “sharp”? There’s nothing wrong with activity and hard work. But we should not get so busy that we neglect the truly important things in life, like our personal life, taking time to get close to our Creator, giving more time for our family, taking time to read etc.

We all need time to relax, to think and meditate, to learn and grow. If we don’t take the time to sharpen the “axe”, we will become dull and lose our effectiveness. 

Author: Stephen Covey
From: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

If you find this story useful, please share with a friend!

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

1 shan June 5, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Great story….yea….ppl nwdays tend to forget they have life being so busy in their working lives….money is important but the most important how much u have live peace within that period……

2 Yonatan June 6, 2012 at 3:11 am

It’s a nice story. I love it.

3 Vandana June 6, 2012 at 6:47 am

Amazing.. !!! It’s true that ppl have become busy in lives, it’s really important to take time out for ourselves and our family and friends…:-)

4 Avi... June 8, 2012 at 3:16 am

Really great story. So many things to learm from it.

5 Nihal Mahato June 8, 2012 at 9:06 am

That’s a really nice story…it’s true that we are being busy each day, running after money.. showing off.. what they can do.. and what they have.. bothering about the whole world but no time for family…

6 Bance Salifu June 8, 2012 at 2:37 pm

It is really a true story………We are always busy over things that ends at the grave.

7 Ade June 13, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Nice story!

8 Shweta June 19, 2012 at 9:15 am

Very inspiring and heart touching story, I really like it!

9 Atanas June 20, 2012 at 7:16 am

Superb. 🙂

10 Pike June 22, 2012 at 10:48 pm

So nice.

11 Shivangi July 4, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Amazing story…

12 Margaret August 7, 2012 at 8:49 am

That’s so wonderful because it shows the importance of balance in life.

13 PRANAV August 18, 2012 at 7:42 am

Very nice story, have meaning ful themes.

14 Kalai September 26, 2012 at 7:28 am

It’s very interesting…… and think about to sharp brain.

15 Judy Plunkett November 22, 2012 at 5:29 am

Enjoy reading these stories

16 Soniya January 20, 2013 at 12:39 am

Nice one. I love this story, really motivational.

17 Diksha mahajan January 28, 2013 at 8:55 am

It’s really a very motivating story.

18 Emvids March 10, 2013 at 4:31 am

I’m really touched. We need to go back to the basics

19 Himanshu Gupta April 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Good story, the same may happen in our daily working style so always remind this story.

20 Sangeeta Gawali April 12, 2013 at 3:34 am

Very motivational story to axe our knowledge.

21 Sruthy April 25, 2013 at 10:22 am

It is an intresting story for children.

22 Vikas Bagul May 15, 2013 at 9:41 am

Nice one.

23 Mads May 18, 2013 at 5:42 am

Very fantastic..It help us to realize changes!!!

24 Jegan June 18, 2013 at 9:29 am


25 Wilmz June 23, 2013 at 11:46 pm

Great! An inspiring story!

26 Hari June 24, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Awesome and one of the most inspiring stories.

27 Partha Dutta July 13, 2013 at 9:39 am

It is a really amazing story.

28 Praveen Sharma July 25, 2013 at 4:50 am

Nice one, it’s a truthful story.

29 Vinaya August 5, 2013 at 7:15 am

I love this story, in today’s world we are so busy.

30 Sathish August 16, 2013 at 1:58 am


31 Ashwini August 17, 2013 at 7:38 am

Very true

32 Arzoo August 20, 2013 at 9:57 am

It’s a very nice story.. I like it..children must read this story they will surely get the inspiration.. How to use the time in a life.:-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-)

33 Unwana August 30, 2013 at 2:26 am


34 Lilly September 5, 2013 at 10:16 am

It is true and so helpful to us and very funny.

35 Karthik.C September 9, 2013 at 5:25 pm

I love this story which motivates all the ppl in all their ways. Work is not only putting effects and its depends also how the work is done in smart way.

36 Gupta Kamal Alg September 19, 2013 at 5:52 am

It’s better to make a balance in life.

37 Paarth Gohlyan September 22, 2013 at 10:42 am

I like your story.

38 Vinod October 9, 2013 at 2:05 pm

As a developer, I believe, this is real.

39 Rine Kan October 10, 2013 at 9:26 am

Nice story.

40 Stefi October 12, 2013 at 5:25 am

Nice story

41 Robin October 24, 2013 at 5:58 am

Thanks for all of stories.

42 Aym shrestha November 19, 2013 at 7:24 am

Great inspiring story.

43 Stefano November 25, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Good short story

44 Shesh December 1, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Best story, teaches us to lead life by sharpening ideas.

45 Gangaprasad December 20, 2013 at 2:46 pm

So good I like it.

46 Samuel January 5, 2014 at 11:58 am

That was from Abraham Lincoln saying “Give me one hour to cut down a tree and I will spend the first 40 minutes to sharpen the axe.”

47 Sharmila January 24, 2014 at 7:49 am

Gud 1.

Work work work !!! and then one fine day we are lost! We can’t work.
Work is necessary but one needs to keep a track of all things and the story here depicts this beautifully!

48 Abhijit January 27, 2014 at 10:05 am

It’s Awesome 🙂 😉 -_- ♥ :-* 8)

49 Prisitha February 2, 2014 at 10:37 am

Very nice, it was perfectly matching with today’s world, and I like it.

50 Daurick Diaz Roy March 10, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Very, very nice.

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