Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Woodcutter

Mastery by Robert Greene

It’s like chopping down a huge tree of immense girth. You won’t accomplish it with one swing of your axe. If you keep chopping away at it, though, and do not let up, eventually, whether it wants to or not, it will suddenly topple down. … But if the woodcutter stopped after one or two strokes of his axe to ask the third son of Mr. Chang, “Why doesn’t this tree fall?” And after three or four more strokes stopped again to ask the fourth son of Mr. Li “Why doesn’t this tree fall?” he would never succeed in felling the tree. It is no different for someone who is practicing the Way. 
Zen Master Hakuin (From "Mastery" by Robert Green, p. 91)
How much progress would the woodcutter make if, after every chop, ...

  - the woodcutter decided that his axe was the problem and what he needed was a new axe?
  - the woodcutter decided that this tree was too hard and what he needed was a new tree?
  - the woodcutter decided that his technique was off and what he needed were chopping lessons?
  - the woodcutter decided that his chop volume, intensity, or density needed adjustment?
  - the woodcutter decided that he needed to tweet about his chop quality?

Does this not remind you of the well-intentioned, but overly-distracted and under-performing wannabe fitness model? Sometimes you gotta just keep plugging away.

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