Thursday, February 18, 2021

The Toxicity of Discouragement By Allan Stevo

It Is With Courage, Heart, & Faith That Men Achieve Greatness 

Moses sent spies into the land of Canaan. They came back and told tales of fearsome giants in a way that spread discouragement and fear throughout the people of Israel. Some were so discouraged that they were even ready to turn back to Egypt.

This awful, fear-spreading and discouraging behavior is so important that it is mentioned over and again in the Bible, denounced so repetitiously that no reader could forget it.

The contrasting behavior, too, was so important that it is mentioned over and again. In fact, rewards were granted for those who returned from Canaan and who recognized their role of leadership and their duty to inspire, and who consequently gave a good and encouraging report that brought faith and heart to those who heard it.

In time, vast portions of the land of Canaan, the land flowing with milk and honey, came to belong to the Israelites.

An Important Litmus In All Interactions 

There’s an important litmus test for all people you choose to believe: Do they encourage or do they discourage?

En-cour-age — to build the heart, to give heart.

Dis-cour-age — to take away from the heart, to suppress the heart.

The two concepts are opposite and do not travel together, much as faith and fear are opposites. Those people you listen to: Do they build faith?

Or do they build fear?

I’m not saying you should want to be lied to. Quite the opposite: You want to honor the truth and suss out the truth as diligently as possible, to seek reality as diligently as possible.

Truth can be delivered in a way that encourages or in a way that discourages. 

He who shares truth and discourages is doing those around him a disservice. “This sucks, and you can’t do anything about it so deal with it,” in our era is allowed to come from friend and foe alike.

I’m skeptical whether a person with a message like that, though, has any business being considered a friend.

Sure, occasional talk like that is no big deal, but how frequently words like that appear over and over again, or thinking like that appears over and over again, and how frequently we let it go.

It’s not okay.

Do Your Favorite Activities Encourage Or Discourage? 

Any talk of Q Anon, the Great Reset, or any other attempt to discern a bigger picture

— often despairingly called “conspiracy theory” — is useful when it empowers the individual to act in effective and tangible ways, or is sabotaging when it discourages, leads to distress, and leads to inaction.

Q Anon is great when it helps turn you into a passionate activist, leader, and inspiration like Marjorie Taylor Greene, who by all appearances, seems to not give into evil but to proceed ever more boldly against. Q Anon is awful when you are left just wanting to click on the next BitChute video.

Whether such conspiracy is factual is a separate matter and important, but that is not the topic I address here. Discouragement and encouragement are my topics and that litmus also applies to people who claim that conspiracy theories have been “debunked” or are “disinformation.” When they levy such terms, do they leave the counterpart feeling encouraged or discouraged? Almost everything you need to know about that person at a moment like that is contained within that litmus. Such discouragement should be unwelcome.

Book reading can be procrastination. Study can be procrastination. Discussion groups can be procrastination. I probably don’t know even 1-in-50 examples of such activity not being procrastination. We lie to ourselves when we say that reading a book is, in itself, meaningful action.

Reading a book can be a means of education that can allow for more effective action. Most often though, it is procrastination. Procrastination can be its own form of discouragement.

Education itself — the act of collecting theories rather than having real world experiences, the tendency to encourage a child to spend some of his or her best years for acquiring experience instead in a classroom collecting theories of questionable value — tends to be procrastination.

How sabotaging it is to a people to pay for years of education so disconnected from anything remotely resembling reality, especially the reality of a life well lived, and to praise it as good use of the teenage years, the twenties, and even the thirties.

What are your aims? What is your purpose? Do your favorite activities encourage or discourage those aims? Do you spend the bulk of your time on activities that encourage those aims or discourage those aims? How often the cult of education neutralizes, confuses, and distracts the pupil from living life well and living life meaningfully.

Beware Of The “Significance Sorter” Who Judges An Encounter By How Significant It Is 

Underlying this litmus of discouragement or encouragement, fear provoking or faith inspiring, is a deeper issue, harder to identify:

Is the person speaking, sorting by significance? 

We all have many dozens of filters that are constantly at play, filters that we use to make decisions and to make sense of the world.

A particularly toxic filter is the act of sorting by significance.

It doesn’t ask “Am I helping others?” It doesn’t ask “Am I providing value?” It doesn’t ask “Am I doing good?”

It asks “Am I having an impact?”

There is nothing wrong with having an impact for a good reason. There is everything wrong with just wanting to have an impact.

Hollering outside your neighbor’s bedroom window at 3 a.m. is impactful, as can be found to happen among forlorn homeless men in urban areas, unable to feel like they matter.

Committing suicide is impactful, probably one of the most impactful and logistically easiest to accomplish things a person can do.

Punching someone in the nose is pretty impactful. All of their attention will immediately be focussed on you.

Derailing a wonderful weekend away is pretty impactful.

Being the class clown is impactful.

Similarly, discouraging others is impactful. For some, it is far easier than the difficult work of encouraging others. Discouragement is hard to fail at. Man is, by default, inactive until motivated. Encouragement is easy to fail at

for the same reason.

Discouragement is an easy way for a significance sorter to feel like he is providing value without asking the tough questions to himself that would show he isn’t providing value at all. He is merely being impactful. He is merely being significant.

Being significant is not good enough.

Being impactful is not good enough.

Being significant for the right reasons, being impactful for the right reasons is key, ultimately providing value for another.

He who discourages is not giving. He is taking. He is taking away courage, often to help himself feel significant.

Repeated over and over, how toxic this is to all around.

This toxicity of discouragement is very real and should be avoided at all cost.

It should be rooted out not only from your own relationships, but also from your way of interacting with others.

Do You Ever Leave Others Discouraged?

Do you ever leave others discouraged?

If the answer is yes, there’s seldom a good reason for it and that behavior needs examining.

Only your enemies should be discouraged by you. Friend, loved one, acquaintance left discouraged by you is a very bad sign.

The warrior builds faith and heart in his compatriots, drives fear away. He knows that commitment, resolve, and focus accomplish great things, and that while fear enfeebles, faith really can move mountains.

How toxic is that fear, that discouragement, and those who carelessly spread it.

How Wise Moses Got Rid Of The Toxicity Of Discouragement & The Cowardice Of The Slave 

It was so toxic that the wise Moses — realizing he had a nation of fearful, cowardly, dependent slaves on his hands who embraced the comfortable and safe certainty of their servitude over the risks of freedom and the resultant joy and prosperity — walked the people of Israel around the desert for 40 years until the fearful generations of slaves he brought out of Egypt were “consumed” by the hardships and travails of that life and replaced by generations of people ready to take what was theirs, no matter how big the alleged giants were that they would have to fight along the way.

The fearful heart is the discouraged heart. It is a useful tool to the oppressor. The faithful heart is the encouraged heart. How well it serves the free man.

Many years later, a shepherd boy fell the great Goliath with a smooth stone and beheaded that foe who had paralyzed so many grown men with fear.

It was not with fear in his heart that the shepherd boy, David, accomplished that.

Beware Of Neutralizing Stories You Tell Yourself Or That You Allow Others To Tell You 

No, it was not with fear in his heart that the shepherd boy, David, accomplished that.

It was not from lack of heart. It was not from surrounding himself with people who told him “You are sure to fail so what’s the point?” or “Why risk it?” or “There’s not much upside.”

It was not from surrounding himself with people who told him “No matter what you do, you can’t make anything better,” or who told him “You better just quit while you’re ahead.”

It wasn’t by surrounding himself with people who used the words “just” or “only” to diminish him as in “You’re just a poorly educated shepherd, what can you do against such a well-trained and so great a specimen of man?” or “You’re only a boy what impact can you have in the world; keep your powder dry; wait your turn.”

It wasn’t by surrounding himself with those who make excuses, who rationalize and normalize every evil, every inaction, every omission.

No, it was none of that. It was not with neutralizing stories like these that so many people tell themselves or allow others to tell them.

It Is With Courage, Heart, & Faith That Men Achieve Greatness 

It was with courage, with heart, with faith, that even a shepherd boy could, against all possible indications from the outside world, fell the giant of a man who drove fear into the hearts of so many and who he then so easily defeated.

He who carries the toxicity of discouragement with him and drives your inaction, your fear, your faithlessness is no friend to you.

He is a friend to your enemy. Worst of all, he probably doesn’t see that.

But hopefully you now do.

Surround yourself with men of courage that provoke your faith and drive you to do great things.

Allan Stevo’s bestselling “” is a call to lead courageously. It is available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and many others. It begins with face masks, but is about so much more. Be the courageous leader who takes off the mask first. Model courage. Encourage. Surround yourself with other courageous folks. Great things begin with little steps. Take that first step. Remove the mask. Vow to never wear it again. At a loss for how? Read “,” read Stevo’s writing, sign up at his website, or drop him a note. But all you really need is your own courage and resolve to put the comforts of a slave behind you and step toward the potential that the life of a free man offers.