… or the story of the tenacious lumberjack.

holzfäller pause break lumberjack

How did you spent the last weeks of the year 2015? Do you feel relaxed and rested? Or are you one of those who became increasingly stressed out and feeling under pressure? Maybe you are also among those who persevere in the job and then get sick their first day off?

If you belong to the second group, you are not alone! This time of the year is particularly stressful for many people. The weather is getting worse, the days get shorter. As the end of the year is getting closer, there usually are lots of things that need to be done at work and at home, and the holidays are not always calm and harmonious either… So don’t forget to take a break!

Todays story comes from the book Let me tell you a story from the Argentinean psychiatrist and gestalt therapist Jorge Bucay. The therapist tells this story to his patient, when the patient reports decreasing results and motivation towards the end of the year, whilst being firmly convinced that he can not afford to take a break right now.

(As I could not find the english version of the story online, this is an approximate translation:)


Once upon a time there was a woodcutter who auditioned to work at a timber company. The work and the working conditions sounded good, so he wanted to leave a good impression.

On the first day he reported to the foreman, who gave him an ax and showed him to a particular area in the forest.

Thrilled the woodcutter went to work.

In one day he felled eighteen trees.

“Congratulations,” said the foreman. “Keep it up.”

Spurred on by the words of the foreman, the woodcutter decided, to surpass his results the next day . So he he went to bed early that day.

The next morning he got up before everyone else and went into the woods.

Despite all the effort he did not managed to cut more than fifteen trees.

“I must be tired”, he thought. And decided to go to bed just after sunset that evening.

At dawn he awoke with the firm resolution to surpass his mark of eighteen trees today. He did not even manage half.

The next day, there were only seven trees, and on the next five, his last day he spent almost entirely cutting down a second tree.

Concerned about what the foreman would say, the woodcutter stood before him, told him what had happened, and swore that he had toiled till you drop.

The foreman asked him, “When did you last sharpen your ax?”

“Sharpen the ax? I had no time for that, I was too busy cutting down trees. “


So if you are still looking for some good intentions for the new year, how about taking a break (or two)? Taking a break and taking time to sharpen your “tool”?

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