The Power of the Wedge

“In time the savage bull sustains the yoke, In time all haggard hawks stoop to lure, In time small wedges cleave the hardest oak, In time the flint is pierced with softest shower.”

Thomas Kyd


     The tornado left a lot of clean up for us in the yard and we were still burning broken limbs and fallen moss a month later. For the biggest limbs we decided to rent a log splitter so that we could move them around and burn them more easily. It was a lot of work and I was glad my son Taylor was in town to do the heavy lifting!

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     The design of the log splitter is simple but very functional. A small motor powers a hydraulic system that moves a wedge up and down. A log placed underneath the wedge is easily split in half as the hydraulics push the wedge downward with significant force. The secret is in the shape of the wedge which starts very narrow and sharp and then tapers wider and wider.

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      These oak logs were so tough that the chain saw had trouble cutting through them but the wedge split them in seconds. It is particularly effective when it goes with the grain of the object it is trying to split.

     A wedge is a formidable opponent or unfailing friend depending on how it is used. Take for example a seemingly innocent incident where you said something that was unflattering about another person to a close friend. Somehow your small indiscretion is shared with that person who then begins to see your friendship from a different perspective. Every thing you do, even if it is nice, is seen as a lie or done for some veiled but unkind reason. You notice this person’s hardened feelings towards you and so begin to harbor your own negative feelings about that person. With time it becomes more serious for both people until finally the relationship shatters. The one seemingly harmless comment was the beginning of the wedge that finally drove the two people apart.

On a good note, a wedge can be used for long-term positive change also. You may be seeking a change in behavior from your children or a loved one. Direct “in your face” scolding and nagging has not worked. You change your tactics to include a “spoonful of sugar which helps the medicine go down”. Gradually over time your show of love and continued heartfelt support begins to drive a wedge between the person you love and the unwanted behavior. This is a hard road but can work quite successfully.

So the wedge is a powerful tool for good or bad depending on how it is used. A wedge is not a sledge hammer that simply uses brute force to cause a massive impact. The wedge is best used against you when it starts with a crack in your armour…when it splits going with your “grain” or your weakness. It is best used to your benefit when you apply it in the grain or weakness of the behaviour you are trying to change.

     HighFive Your Life Principle: Don’t underestimate the power of the wedge for both positive and negative change.

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