How Important is it to know the Truth? #10
After all the knowledge you have received about the power of a law, you now understand how important it is not to be wrong about the laws we apply. I say this because I know many people who, after understanding the impact of laws in their lives, have decided to respect them, but their willingness has pushed them to read a bit of everything, and as a result, they have sometimes come across even falsehoods, which have been passed off as laws. As a result, despite their will, they have not been able to achieve their goals to this day. It is important to work hard, but it is even more important to work hard, by applying the laws that are true. Let me give you an example: let’s say you have an iPhone that has a problem, and you take it to a repairman, who specializes in Samsung phones, and knows nothing about iPhones. This technician can spend hours and hours of work on your iPhone, he will never achieve the desired result.
You can work hard, but if you don’t know the laws that apply to your situation, you’ll never get the result you want. Have you ever wondered why some people achieve their goals faster than others do? I will give you the answer now: these people know exactly what to do in order to achieve the desired goal. Therefore, when they work, they don’t guess what to do — they know what to do, they know the truth to apply to their situation. Suppose you want to make a cake that you’ve seen in a cookbook. Cookbooks always have the end result (in our case the cake) on one page, and the ingredients and the recipe to achieve that result on the other page. Now, if you focus all your attention on the end result, without worrying about the ingredients and the recipe to achieve the result, you can spend hours, you will never achieve your goal, and in the end you will be frustrated, because despite your desire to have the cake, you will not have applied the truth that will allow you to achieve your goal.
The ingredients represent the things you had to do, and the recipe shows you in what order to do them. Life is the same: every time you want to reach a goal, going straight into action is useless if you don’t know exactly what to do to reach the goal. So take your time, learn what you have to do, and then you can get to work, knowing exactly what you are doing. If you are asked to cut the trunk of a large tree, don’t you think it would be better to sit down first and take the time to sharpen your axe before you take action? Don’t you think that just getting started with an unsharpened axe will waste your time and you may never reach your goal?
Cutting down a tree with a dull axe
Starting an activity without first knowing the laws that guarantee the success of that activity is like trying to cut down a tree with a dull axe. It will take too much effort, and it is not even guaranteed that the tree will eventually fall.
Let’s say you want to bake a cake for example. Don’t you think it would be easier to spend the first few hours reading your cookbook so that you know exactly what to do, and then throw yourself — rather than just fumbling around, not knowing what you’re doing, and missing your recipe?
I’ve met people who say they want to learn how to do things before they start, but they just don’t have the money to invest in training. Every time I hear that, I understand that the person hasn’t yet realized how expensive ignorance is. If you invest money to buy your cookbook so that you know how to bake your cake, won’t you make good use of the ingredients you are going to buy? On the other hand, by going with ignorance, won’t the cake be uneatable, and therefore you will have to throw it away, and everything you have spent on the ingredients will be a loss? It’s a bit like a company that goes into a building project, for example, but doesn’t want to invest in the knowledge of its engineers. They may well go ahead with the construction, but if they realize a year later that they had made mistakes in their calculations from the start, all that money already invested will be a big loss, which they could have avoided if they had invested in knowledge before they started the project. Jesus Christ wants to make us understand the same thing by saying:
(1) For which of you, if he would build a tower, will not first sit down and calculate the cost and see if he has enough to finish it, lest, when he hath laid the foundation, he be unable to finish it, and all that see him begin to taunt him, saying: This man began to build, and was not able to finish it?
If you think knowledge is expensive, try ignorance to see how much it costs you…
Trying to cut down a tree with an unsharp blade is like trying to succeed in a project without having the necessary knowledge. It will require a lot of effort, and in the end you will probably fail the project, because success doesn’t come because you work hard, but because you obey the laws that guarantee success. When we talk about sharpening the blade of the axe before you start felling the tree, we are talking about learning how to succeed in a field, before you get into it.
Just remember how it took you time and energy to work in a field you didn’t know how to do. Now compare it to all the times you’ve worked in fields you did know. Do you see any difference? Do you see how much less time and energy you needed to succeed in the activity because you invested time and energy in learning, before getting into the activity?
If tomorrow you have a meeting with a potential investor for your business, won’t you invest today studying how to successfully conduct the meeting tomorrow, rather than just going in blind? Many people even fail in their marriages, because they go into them without knowing what makes a marriage a success — they just go into them out of emotion, forgetting that emotions are not stable, so you can’t count on them to make a project succeed. And yes, marriage is a project that ends the day death do us part.
If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four hours sharpening my ax « Abraham Lincoln»
The wise Solomon gives us the same advice when he says: If he has blunt iron, and has not sharpened its edge, he should redouble his strength, but wisdom has the advantage of success (2). The verb to blunt means to make it not sharp. So he advises us the same thing: take the time to sharpen your knowledge first, before embarking on a project, to ensure its success. That’s why he ends by saying “but wisdom has the advantage of success”. If you have read the article where I talk about wisdom (the one titled: What Influences the Quality of My Life?), you understand that when he talks about wisdom here, he just means that by applying knowledge, one has the advantage of success, or success is guaranteed.
Question of the week: Looking back over your life, is there any area where you feel you would have done well if only you had the right knowledge from the beginning?
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Thank you for reading me :-)
(1) Luke 14:28–30
(2) Ecclesiastes 10:10