Tools (September 11)


“The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the workman who would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools” (Confucius).

TOOLS ARE DEVICES THAT AID IN THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF A TASK. Having the right tools for a particular job not only makes the work much easier, but sometimes a job can’t be done at all without the right tools. Tools are work multipliers. They take advantage of the laws of physics to increase the work that can be done by a given action. You can, for example, pry something apart with a crowbar that you couldn’t pry apart with your hands, simply because the crowbar uses the physical principle of leverage to multiply the force exerted by your hands. Tools helps us do more work and better work.

But if physical tools help us, there are some other, intangible tools that help us even more. Knowledge is a tool. Wisdom is a tool. Talent is a tool, and so are experience, enthusiasm, and a host of other human qualities of character and competence. With these, we can do more work and better work than we could without them. And the more important we believe our work to be, the more important it is to acquire the tools that will aid us in doing that work.

All of us have some tools, of course, but the problem is, we don’t have very many. We don’t have as many as we need and rather than put more tools in our toolbox, we often try to make our difficulties fit the tools we already have. “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail,” said Abraham Maslow. We need to wake up to the fact that the world presents us with a variety of tasks and challenges. And every time we get the chance, we need to add new and different tools to those that are currently in our toolbox.

But whatever other tools we may have, whether literal or figurative, here is an encouraging thought: if at least we have our hands, we should be grateful. Let us not undervalue our hands because they are so familiar, for they are really quite extraordinary. With nothing but our own hands, a world of good can be done — if we choose to see their value and make full use of them while the opportunity is ours.

“Take a look at those two open hands of yours. They are tools with which to serve, make friends, and reach out for the best in life. Open hands open the way to achievement. Put them to work today” (Wilfred A. Peterson).

Gary Henry –