School of Hard Knocks

Of late I have been thinking more about why we do what we do, and why some good people are successful and why some are not. It seems that much of it boils down to our teaching or education going back even from our very early years.

stephen-1.gifIt has been said by many people that we become what we think about. Even the Bible says: “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he”. I have found this statement to be absolute truth not only in my life but also from what I have witnessed it is true for others as well. The way we think, how we react, and altogether how we live is influenced from our education/teaching. In turn, the teaching we receive and put into action becomes our belief system or by definition it is our ‘religion’ because we act upon what we believe in.

How a person works is based on his education, or you could say his teaching. You see, I believe our society has come to believe that the only way you can really know anything is to through formal schooling. While formal schooling certainly has some great advantages it is not the only way we become educated.

Many, and we probably could say, all of us have learned some lessons from “The School of Hard Knocks”. I would even argue that probably the most valuable lessons ever learned in life have come from this school. We are learning and being educated all the time. Not just in a formal school but wherever we are, on our jobs, at work, or at play. I heard a business teacher at our plant say recently that he tries to learn something every time he goes and presents his talk/class.

You see, all education is self education. Even if you go to school or college, if you don’t want to learn for yourself you won’t learn much. All learning has to be accepted by each person. I am becoming a big proponent of self education. Even people with college must have continuing education. Doctors and lawyers must continue to learn. Also self educated people tend to believe stronger in what they are doing and are more passionate about their work.

Now, to my point: You are a sawmiller or aspiring to be one because of teaching, training, and influence you have received over the years. Tim and I are the same way, and we have continued our education and applied ourselves to learning how to build better sawmills and support equipment. Our ‘Alma Mater’ most often has been the school of hard knocks. Tim and I graduated high school but the rest of our education has come through reading and studying on our own to become better business men and sawmillers. I’m sure many of you can relate.

Just as many of you. We enjoy sharing what we have learned and we want to help our customers to have a happier, more productive, and easier life. In the process we have made many friends around the country. We all know that any job can have great frustrations and sawmilling is no exception. Where we can help is with the thin kerf sawing industry. It is where we have essentially spent our entire lives; it is what we know. It is where we have been educated and have our ‘Degree’.

Our company motto is that “We want to help you make more money”. We have said this so long and believe it so strongly, till it is who we have become. Very few days go by that someone doesn’t calls up and thank us for being the only company that was willing to take time to help solve their problem on a mill that was not even a Cook’s. I believe our desire to help others is why we are the leaders in bandsaw technology.

With the troublesome times that we are seeing in the economy it seems essential that we all must become the best we can be at what we do. To do this, sometimes we have to listen and try something new and different. Many times we find that people who have done things a certain way for years don’t want to try new and different things. There is a belief based on their education that keeps them from changing. Sometimes it is because we have been burned by a slick talker. Sometimes we have been taught or learned different and our pride gets in the way, and sometimes we just don’t want to do different because it means we will have to think and re-adjust.

We say things like “I have always done it this way”, “This is a new blade I shouldn’t have to change my machine”, or “I paid a lot of money for this equipment and it is or should be correct”. In life, change/adjusting is often necessary. Even though we might have just bought something and paid good money for it, we sometimes have to work things out. There is no magic. It is, just the way it is. We see this in every type of machinery regardless of the manufacturer.

I know we say that it is just not fair, or sometimes not even right. But, what I have found is that the person or company that continues to move forward regardless as to whether things seem fair or not, are the people or companies who are successful. I also find these successful people are happy and feel good about life. That is really for what we are all striving for.

At Cook’s Saw we are really here to help you make more money. In the process we have to make a living as well. To do this we have been offering free consultation trying to help get good information to you. It is literally impossible for Tim and myself to talk to each person, so we are doing some things to pass our education on to you. We do this by writing and training the people who work with us to become better at serving you. We are working hard to start with top quality people who we can train to ‘help you make more money’. Then we are developing and training them to understand all the little intricacies that we have run into on every machine and band blade that is in the market. This is a very large project but it is one that we are accomplishing. We are confident that this will help you become a leader in sawing and sharpening wherever you are located.

So, I leave you with this: Work to be open minded and at least occasionally try new things. Listen, and if it is not a terribly expensive idea to try, give it a test. Don’t let pride stop you from learning, becoming better, and making more money. I have the same struggle, but just doing a little more will put us over the top. If will make not only our businesses do well, but we will become better educated and better people as we solve problems and add value to the world around us.

To your success,


Leaders in Bandsaw Technology!