Chop Wood & Carry Water

Chop wood and carry water.

It’s an old Chinese proverb that has the potential to save marriages, careers, relationships, and livelihoods.
I spent a month in China when I was in college and one of my favorite parts of the trip was the week we spent in this small village way up in the mountains. It was a very rural, almost primitive community. There were two things they had to do everyday:

Chop wood and carry water.

The cold always came so the fire always needed to be maintained.
Food always needed preparing and thirst always needed quenching so water was needed everyday. They didn’t have running water so someone always had to carry it.

It didn’t matter what happened that day, whether there were good experiences or bad. Chop wood and carry water.

Hall of Fame basketball coach Phil Jackson told Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant the same thing before, during, and after winning 6 and 5 championships, respectively. It kept them motivated, focused, and grounded.

You want to know how to be truly successful? – Chop wood and carry water.
You want to know how to have a thriving marriage? – Chop wood and carry water.
You want to know how to cultivate and maintain a positive reputation? – Chop wood and carry water.

This philosophy isn’t too idealistic. It’s not overly simplistic.

Adopt a “chop wood and carry water” attitude at work, at home, and in the community for the next 30 days and see if you’re not pleased with the results.

You’ll find yourself…

  1. Working harder
  2. Staying humble
  3. Appreciating others
  4. Doing the little things right
  5. Growing in discipline
  6. Staying focused before, during, and after success

Emotionally healthy people adopt a Chop Wood Carry Water mentality. They know that normal tasks need to get done every day.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a lawyer or a sanitation worker.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an executive or a stay-at-home Mom.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a college student or a grandparent.

Rise and shine. It’s time to chop wood and carry water. Who’s in?

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