There’s an old fable that one day the devil was having a sale, hawking his many diabolical tools of the trade. Each of the devil’s tools was on display with its price tag attached—tools such as the arrow of jealousy, the hammer of anger, and the dagger of worry. His tools also included the slingshot of doubt and the axe of hatred, along with numerous others. But one tool was displayed prominently on a pedestal high above the others. It was dented and worn with use. A curious shopper inquired about the price and why such an old and worn tool was displayed so visibly. “Ah, yes,” said the devil, “THAT’S THE WEDGE OF DISCOURAGEMENT. It is my favorite tool of all. It’s so easy to use and hardly takes any effort. All I have to do is get the very tip of the wedge into my victim and the rest is easy. Once the wedge is in, I just tap it ever so slightly and it slides in deeper and deeper. Sometimes I don’t have to do anything—my victims drive the wedge in all by themselves!” “A small opening soon becomes a gaping crack, making room for the rest of my tools. Before you know it, my wedge has completely split a person’s dreams, hopes, and aspirations in two. That’s why the wedge of discouragement commands such a high price—because it’s my most effective tool. It has opened more doors for me than all my other tools combined.” Indeed discouragement is a universal problem. None of us are exempt. It affects the young and the aged. Rich and poor. Male and female

From: Claudia Laird Obertreis • Vice President, Stoffer Management Consultants, Inc.

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