Do it now? No, let’s sharpen the axe first.

I had never coded before. One day, I was asked to make a website in 3 days. The first thing I did was google how to make a website, and found out that the shortest tutorial was 2 hours long. Too long, I have no time on that.

So, I immediately decided to practice “learning by doing” technique. I opened one pretty website, inspected its source code (Thanks, Chrome.), and copied it down. My plan was straightforward: imitate, learn, modify, and Voilà! My site is done!

Sounds like a good plan, doesn’t it? I was wrong! Very wrong.

I spent hours and hours just googling each term, and wasted hours and hours modifying things of which I didn’t know rules or meanings. With relentless revising and no sleep, I finally managed to hand in a shabby website on Day 3, which looked OK on my laptop. I tested it on my phone. Oh no! I lost all OK-looking formatting, and the website looked like something from 90s. Later I learned something called “responsive website design”, but it was a little too late.

I felt like I was an idiot who wanted to save time on doing something but ended up wasting more.

Have you ever had an experience like this? The first instinct for cutting a tree is to start chopping or sharpening the axe. Execution is absolutely important, but working wisely might harvest more with less effort.

We are moving fast nowadays, and becoming more and more action-driven. The world is changing at an unprecedented high speed, and if we slow down, we will fall behind.

We need to get things done NOW… That’s what we tell ourselves.

I have been practicing yoga for 3 years. But, I didn’t get the point of how to breathe, how to flow, and how to be present during my practice until this Monday evening when I ran into an intro class by mistake.

Does this mean my previous 3-year yoga practice is useless? Certainly not … Any experience is valuable. This incident just helped me realize that I could have enjoyed yoga much more, and my body could have been much stronger, if I took my time at the beginning to learn foundations.

We like to brand ourselves as “a quick learner” in our resume. Quick learning is not equal to completing the job fast. Learning is a process, finishing is just part of it, just the end. We read, we think, we absorb, we use, and finally we gain — we get the tree chopped down.

Everyday, we deposit knowledge, experience and energy for unfinished things tomorrow.

Don’t panic if you are sharpening your axe while your neighbors already started to chop, focus on what you are doing and follow your pace. We will eventually win, not beating others but surpassing our own selves who rush into chopping with a blunt tool.

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