Sharpen the Saw

Sharpen the Saw

Sounds familiar? Yes – it is the 7th Habit – from Stephen Covey’s book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Covey emphasizes the need to sharpen ourselves from time to time. He describes an incident of a man continuously cutting the branches of trees with a saw. When another man suggests that he stops to sharpen the saw to make things quicker, he responds – “Can’t you see I am busy cutting the branch? I do not have time to sharpen the saw”!

Let us stop and think. Many of us fall into this trap. We are so busy doing all that we started that we do not stop to sharpen ourselves. Sharpening happens at several levels. Think of the analogy of running a car. If you do not stop to refuel it, as the petrol / gas runs out, it will just stop. Similarly humans need rest or sleep at intervals. If not their body just gives way.

At a much higher level it is about sharpening our existing skills and learning new ones. Let me take the context of medical / health research. One chooses a topic to research, carries out the research, writes a publication. How many take the effort to go on learning more about each process?

My mentor “Infinity Karthik” says – “Invest 10% of your income on yourself for learning new skills, every year”. My boss in the 1990s – a well known Cardiologist – Dr KG Nair used to tell me “Definitely learn something new every year”. He practised what he preached. With his full schedules, he would read a lot – in his own field and his passion areas – the basic sciences – Physiology, Pathology and more! He would also practice playing the Sitar every day, and once a week with a “Tabalji”.

Inspired by such authors, bosses and mentors, I too advocate learning something new every year and spending 10% on yourself. You deserve it!

Remember – whether you want to do research / write publications or not, every health professional
has to understand the research process!

To understand the process, I stress… learn all that you can about it – bit by bit. And as the Founder of QMed, I would stress – learn as much as you can about Literature Searching & Referencing. These two skills are useful lifelong – whether you choose to do research, write publications or you choose to focus on practice. Visit . We have included a timetable that tells you how you spend only 15 minutes a day on the site to learn all that we have to offer. Sharpen your saw!

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