Friday Fable. Aesop’s “The Wild Boar and the Fox”*

Posted by jlubans on April 07, 2016

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Caption: Alas, one bad vise (pun) can keep you from sharpening your saw!

“A WILD BOAR stood under a tree and rubbed his tusks against the trunk. A Fox passing by asked him why he thus sharpened his teeth when there was no danger threatening from either huntsman or hound. He replied, ‘I do it advisedly; for it would never do to have to sharpen my weapons just at the time I ought to be using them.’"

While I’m not much of a fan of the pandemic Mr. Covey and his Effectiveness nostrums, guess what habit came to mind when I read this fable? No, not “Love Potion #9”.
It was, of course, Habit #7, “Sharpen the Saw”.
For Covey, that means taking care of yourself so that you are suitably fit for whatever comes along - in life or work.
Of necessity, the boar is more singular in his focus: “I keep my weapons sharp in peace so they are ready in war.”
Now I do like the pun in the cartoon. And it does bear on what Mr. Covey suggests we do – get rid of immoderate behaviors. Sometimes, the vice (vise) – when broken – prevents us from looking sharp, being sharp. Well, in that case what do you do? You could become reflective, à la a Covey clone and ask yourself:
“What makes your saw sharp? What makes your saw dull?”
For me, instead of implying that one’s sorry ways lead to bad things, it is probably just as effective to look beyond the self to see what’s blocking progress. In other words, get a new vise.
Likewise, organizations should prepare in good times for bad times.

*Source: FABLES By Aesop Translated by George Fyler Townsend (probably from this edition): “Three hundred and fifty Aesop’s fables”. Chicago, Belford, Clarke & Co., 1886.
Available at the Gutenberg Project.

Copyright © John Lubans 2016

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