“Follow the grain in your own wood.” Howard Thurman
The word “grain” refers to the orientation of wood-cell fibers. One of the most fundamental axioms of woodworking is to always cut wood with the grain. The grain follows the natural structure of the tree. Cutting with the grain will always produce not only the strongest cut of wood but also the least amount of aggravation.
The same is true in life. We experience the least amount of resistance when we stay true to the grain in our own wood. Undoubtedly, you have heard someone described as “going against the grain.” Usually this means the person has chosen to go against the grain of the many to stay true to his or her own grain.
How can you tell if you are not following the grain in your own wood? Ask any woodworker, it’s easy to tell. You will be feeling frustrated, discouraged, annoyed, unhappy, aggravated, and perhaps even disheartened. Following the grain, on the other hand, is the easy way. You’ll know that when you are feeling happy, content, and successful. Follow the grain or not, it’s your choice—always.