Satan sells used objects

By Paulo Coelho

Needing to adapt to the new times, Satan decided to get rid of a whole lot of his stock of temptations. He placed an ad in the newspaper and attended his customers all day in his workshop.

It was a fantastic stock: stones for the virtuous to stumble over, mirrors for increasing one’s self-importance, and spectacles that reduced the importance of others. Some objects hanging on the wall drew a lot of attention: a dagger with a curved blade to be used on someone’s back, and tape-recorders that registered only gossip and lies.

– Don’t worry about the price! – shouted old Satan to the potential customers. – Take it home today and pay for it whenever you can!

One of the visitors noticed two tools lying in a corner that seemed to be quite worn and attracted little attention. But they were very expensive. Curious, he wanted to know the reason for that apparent discrepancy.

– They are worn because they are the ones that I use most of all – answered Satan with a laugh. – If they drew a lot of attention, people would know how to protect themselves.

– However, they are both worth the price I am asking for them: one is Doubt, the other is the Inferiority Complex. All the other temptations can sometimes fail, but these two always work.

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  1. jess says:

    i love your words and stories… they are an inspiration… a beacon. so true, doubt and inferiority makes us commit so many things that hurt other people more… why do we have to step on others to feel good about ourselves?

  2. Sefer JAN says:

    Serpent, for me it means (symbolizes) harmony within the chaos.

  3. tinni t. says:

    que sera sera,
    whatever will be, will be

  4. barbie says:

    Well, I could say that I am so guilty of the two. Ever since as a child, I think I already possess the characteristic of having an inferiority complex. And until now, I hadn’t get over it yet. Too bad.

    I have lots of doubts with myself, with others and at times always asks why–in terms of whats happening with my life. And just recently, with the experience I had made me question God as well. I would say that I’m in the process of picking the pieces again of my shattered self, dreams and the faith I lost.

  5. Alexandra says:

    The story seemed very funy,till the end.But,the two expensive things are my fawls,so I felt terrified,wow.Have to get of them very soon.My dear friends,would you like to pray for me?Love you,dear Paulo

  6. Gina says:

    Inferiority Complex is the OTHER SIDE of the Superiority Complex!
    I do not think that My Master Jesus Christ had a Inferiority complex. CESARE had a Superiority Complex!!! Are You sleeping, Paulo?!?!?

  7. VIVIANA says:

    jajaja!!! satanas no pude vender nada!! por que no tiene nada!! se lo dio todo a DIOS!!! ESE ERA EL TRATO….

  8. Fernanda Signato Marques says:

    Estava precisando ouvir uma mensagem para acordar… Para voltar a rir das minhas “desgraí§as”, rs… Hoje foi um dia difí­cil, com problemas no trabalho, com o “chefe”, e estava me sentindo meio pra baixo.
    Graí§as a esse lindo texto, o baixo-astral foi embora!
    Muito amor,

  9. alexandra says:


  10. muriel says:

    I mean does that mean I am tempted by the devil?

  11. muriel says:

    I often feel I have an inferiority complex because I feel I can always learn something new from other people, from their experiences of their lives, who am I to say I know it all, all I know is how I perceive things, but it might be very different for someone else, there is always something to learn from the people you meet, you can always improve yourself and learn a different angle to look at things. Although this sometimes becomes overwhelming and I loose track of my own path but then I savour this too because I feel the wider the view, the more I learn, even if it is painful at times. It might slow me down on my path but I might have helped someone else to move forward on theirs, and that is worth it I think. Am I tempted by the Devil?

  12. Asha says:

    These expensive items are what haunted me most of my life,and occasionally pop up to say hello. I really enjoyed reading this story, for doubt and inferiority complex can destroy our lives, and the people around us

  13. Toni says:

    “one is Doubt, the other is the Inferiority Complex.”

    Imagine how so many see someone who has doubt and feelings of inferiority and we see them as a great and easy target for all the other tools of Satan rather than holding them close or giving them strokes of support.

  14. Sunitha says:

    The days I am low, just reading the message of the day and the comments written on the site makes me feel like I am back on track. Thanks Paulo for making a difference in my life with simple words and stories.

    And Savita, I just love the way you express your emotions/feelings.

  15. Anneliese Flores Clar says:

    Amazing story Paulo, thank you very much!!!

  16. Fran says:

    Dear Paulo
    Again a very wise story to translate in Dutch for my website
    ( )
    Thank you very much and sincere greetings

  17. Savita Vega says:

    Words so on point for me in this day. This morning I woke up feeling a bit disheartened, to say the least. In response to yesterday’s apparent defeats, my own internal recorder turned on and started announcig how inferior I am, and how futile my quest. Now this is an internal voice that I thought I had whipped long ago, as it seldom makes a peep any longer. I suppose, however, that it saw it’s chance at a comeback in this hour. Your words this morning, Paulo Coelho, are like a bright orange life-raft afloat on a frigid and tumultuous ocean. Thank you!

    Savita Vega

  18. THELMA says:

    Nice story!!
    It seems that old Satan is accepting … visa cards, for the payment! Another ‘tool’ for encouraging consumers!
    And those tapes with .. lies and gossip!! You have forgotten, my Paulo Coelho, those videos and mobile phones with cameras on, with the ‘personal scenes’ and those poor abused children videos, all Satans’ helpers!
    Doubt and inferiority complex can poison our life and make a Hell of it!!

  19. Doubt and Inferiority Complex – should be expelled form the head.
    … just working on it. But they keep turning back. Whenever I realise this I say Boo!

  20. Heart says:

    …sells used objects…or serve left overs. Imagine if Jesus came to dinner and we served left overs, or frozen food. Like Doubt and Inferiority Complex, Satan is an expert on Insulting.