Sharpen the Saw
To be effective, we must devote the time to renewing ourselves physically, spiritually, mentally, and socially. Continuous renewal allows us to synergistically increase our ability to practice each habit.
Habit 7 is focused around renewal, or taking time to “sharpen the saw.” It surrounds all of the other habits and makes each one possible by preserving and enhancing your greatest asset — yourself.
There are four dimensions of our nature, and each must be exercised regularly, and in balanced ways:
Physical Dimension: The goal of continuous physical improvement is to exercise our body in a way that will enhance our capacity to work, adapt, and enjoy.
To renew ourselves physically, we must:
• Eat well
• Get sufficient rest and relaxation
• Exercise on a regular basis to build endurance, flexibility, and strength
Focusing on the physical dimension helps develop Habit 1 muscles of proactivity. We act based on the value of well-being instead of reacting to the forces that keep us from fitness.
Spiritual Dimension: The goal of renewing our spiritual self is to provide leadership to our life and reinforce your commitment to our value system.
To renew yourself spiritually, you can:
• Practice daily meditation
• Communicate with nature
• Immerse yourself in great literature or music
A focus on our spiritual dimension helps us practice Habit 2, as we continuously revise and commit ourselves to our values, so we can begin with the end in mind.
Mental Dimension: The goal of renewing our mental health is to continue expanding our mind.
To renew yourself mentally, you can:
• Read good literature
• Keep a journal of your thoughts, experiences, and insights
• Limit television watching to only those programs that enrich your life and mind
Focusing on our mental dimension helps us practice Habit 3 by managing ourselves effectively to maximize the use of our time and resources.
Social/Emotional Dimension: The goal of renewing ourselves socially is to develop meaningful relationships.
To renew yourself emotionally, you can:
• Seek to deeply understand other people
• Make contributions to meaningful projects that improve the lives of others
• Maintain an Abundance Mentality, and seek to help others find success
Renewing our social and emotional dimension helps us practice Habits 4, 5, and 6 by recognizing that Win-Win solutions do exist, seeking to understand others, and finding mutually beneficial third alternatives through synergy.