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Standing strong despite overwhelming odds

No matter how successful we may be in achieving many of our goals, there are times when we just can’t shake the feeling that the odds are stacked overwhelmingly against us. Perhaps life has taken an unexpected turn (personally or professionally), or a new project is limping along, or the latest obstacles seem dismayingly high.

That’s why I recently found O Jerusalem to be such a gripping read. Published in 1972, this book by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins is widely regarded as one of the best accounts of the creation of the State of Israel. At well over 600 pages, it presents a highly colourful and detailed view of events from all sides of the conflict.

But what particularly struck me—over and above the authors’ ability to breathe life into historical facts—was the concept of standing resolute in the face of what appears to be an unwinnable challenge. Essential to this undertaking, as we’ve found so often in health care, is reliable, up-to-date information upon which to base our decisions. As well, everyone on the team must clearly understand and be focused on the short- and long-term goals.

However, the critical catalyst is one’s spirit of determination. Although the Israelis’ resources were limited, their military outnumbered and their leaders in occasional disagreement about certain elements of strategy, there was never any doubt about the need to persevere.

Of course, rock-solid commitment is no guarantee of success. However, for me, O Jerusalem is a potent reminder of how important it can sometimes be to let your heart keep leading you onward, even as your mind reminds you how slim your chances are.


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