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Alternate Perspective for Challenging Times

If you're old enough to have slogged through the downturn of the mid-1970s or the double digit unemployment of the early 1980s, this current recession might bring back some not-so-pleasant memories. On the other hand, more recent entrants to the workforce are experiencing a severe, wide and deep downturn for the first time. Either way, it's tough - and it's going to get worse before it gets better.

How about a little dose of alternate perspective, then? Consider the following: Sir Walter Scott, stricken with polio at a young age and left lame, became a key figure in the development of world literature.

Abraham Lincoln, raised in abject poverty, ended up in the White House.

Olympian Glenn Cunningham (considered by many to be the greatest American miler of all time) was burned so severely in a fire as a child that doctors doubted he'd ever walk again.

Ludwig van Beethoven lost his hearing completely - yet wrote some of his most stirring and memorable pieces without ever being able to hear them. And so on.

We've all heard some variation of this quote: 20% of life is what happens to us - the other 80% is the way we respond to these events.

This little fable has been often quoted in one way, shape or form:

It was advertised that the devil was going to put his tools up for sale. On the date of the event, the tools were displayed for public inspection - many at discount prices. Curious shoppers browsed the arrows of jealousy, the hammer of anger, the dagger of worry, the slingshot of doubt, the ax of hatred - and so many more. Set apart from the rest and showcased prominently was the "Wedge of Discouragement."

Though very tiny and banged up from obvious heavy use, the price was steep - much more expensive than the other tools combined.

When prospective buyers inquired as to the high price, the devil replied, "Because it's my favorite! It's so easy to use; it hardly takes any effort. I can get inside people's hearts using this single tool when I can't get near them with others. And 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 - people often drive the wedge in deeper all by themselves!" "In spite of its small size and less-than-pristine condition, I assure you it's well worth the price. I use it on almost everyone - it has opened more doors for me than you can imagine."

Finally, I'll bet you've run across this poem along the way. It hangs on the wall in my office - and I admit I've found myself looking at it quite a bit lately!

Don't Quit! When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, when the road you're trudging seems all uphill, when the funds are low and the debts are high, and you want to smile, but you have to sigh, when care is pressing you down a bit, rest, if you must, but do not quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns, as every one of us sometimes learns, and many a failure turns about, when he might have won had he stuck it out.

Don't give up though the pace seems slow-- you may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than it seems to a faint and faltering man. Often the struggler has given up when he might have captured the victor's cup; and he learned too late when the night slipped down, how close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out-- the silver tint of the clouds of doubt, and you never can tell how close you are, it may be near when it seems so far. So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit-- it's when things seem worst that you must not quit.


Hang in there. None of us walks alone.

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