Discouragement is one of our greatest enemies By Jim Davidson It's just common sense to realize that we cannot do our best when we are deeply discouraged. Each of us should spend some time and learn what causes discouragement and what steps we can take to avoid or overcome it � that is, if we want to achieve outstanding success. To achieve anything really worthwhile in life, there comes a time we refer to as "the moment of truth." In any undertaking, when we begin to struggle and maybe even have serious doubts, the moment of truth is that critical time when we either give up or keep going. If you will examine this statement, I believe you will conclude the reason many people give up far short of achieving success is because they become discouraged. On the other hand, those who keep going are those who find a source of inner strength which enables them to defeat or overcome discouragement.
It's natural and even necessary to give up on some things, especially if our priorities are wrong or the odds are too great. To be sure, I've given up many times, but the key to success in most anything is to know when to give up and when to keep going. More often than not, however, the reason most people are not successful is that they give up too quickly. There is a vast difference in giving up on reaching a specific goal and in giving up on life, in general. There is usually no real tragedy when we give up on a specific goal, but there is a real tragedy when we give up on life.
If you are a person who has a tendency to become deeply discouraged, I want to remind you of the source of discouragement, by sharing a story I heard some time ago: "Once upon a time, Satan, growing old and weary, decided it was time for him to retire from active work. He offered all of his devilish inventory of tools for sale to the highest bidders. At the time of the auction, the tools were all neatly arranged: envy, malice, enmity, sensuality, deceit and all of the other devices of evil. Each was plainly marked, and the price was surprisingly low, except for the ungainly piece of much used steel marked, "discouragement." It was marked 10 times more than any of the other tools.
"Why, Mr. Satan," asked a prospective buyer, "do you ask so much for this tool?"
"Well," replied the old tempter, "this tool has always been my most useful one. You can see that it has more wear than any of the others. I can use it as a wedge to get into a person's mind and defeat him, when all other means fail."
If this story has any truth in it, and I for one believe that it does, we can plainly see that Satan is the source of discouragement. He wants us to give up, sit down and wallow around in self-pity. If we allow this to happen, we certainly won't accomplish anything worthwhile for God, our fellow man, or anyone else, including ourselves. The only way to overcome discouragement is by intelligent action. Once you decide to do something worthwhile and get started, you'll soon find discouragement will leave you.
The exact opposite of discouragement is courage and this is simply the quality of mind that meets danger or opposition with firmness. Isolated performances of great deeds do not make individuals heroes or cowards, they simply reveal character to the eyes of others. Every successful life needs challenges, hurdles to overcome, and problems to solve in order to bring the power of courage into play. God has given us a will and in America we have the freedom and the opportunity to make choices. In every important decision in life, God votes for us, Satan votes against us, and it's left up to us to break the tie!
(Editor's note: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72032).