I’m involved in a jury trial in Seattle which presents unique challenges. I went back over my past writings for some inspiration and thought I’d select this as much for you as for me:
We must have dogged determination in the face of adversity
The key to achieving success for our clients lies in overcoming adversity with dogged determination. Calvin Coolidge was the 30th President of the United States. He once wrote:
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common then unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”
A heroic example of determination occurred on October 29, 1915 when a group of Antarctic explorers were trapped on the frozen Weddel sea with their vessel, Endurance, locked in the ice and were forced to abandon the vessel. After nine months the ship had begun to be crushed by the ice. They had no radios. All they had were 70 sled dogs, a supply of food and three 22 foot life boats. Led by Sir Ernest Shackleton they began to drag the boats across the ice pack towards an open sea some 350 miles away. Shackleton’s plan was to sail from there across over a 1000 miles of rough sea to the nearest civilization. It would mean covering that distance through floating ice and one of the roughest, most unpredictable seas in the world. The men carried the clothes they wore, two pair of mittens, six pair of socks, two pair of boots, a sleeping bag and a pound of tobacco plus two pounds of personal belongings. It was a tremendous struggle that took thirteen months of starvation, danger, near death and freezing temperature, but Shackleton led them to safety without losing one life.
Then there is the story of the determination of Tom Dempsey who was born without a right hand and with only half a right foot. He was determined to play football and became a place kicker. By dogged determination and long hours of practice he played in college and was good enough to be signed by the New Orleans Saints. On November 8, 1970 the Saints were behind in a game against Detroit 17-16 with only two seconds to go on Detroit’s forty five yard line. The Saints sent in Dempsey to attempt a sixty three yard field goal. Dempsey kicked the ball and set a NFL field goal record when it cleared the uprights to win the game for the Saints.
An African slave who was given the name Sojourner Truth lived in the 1790’s. She escaped and obtained her freedom. She could neither read nor write but became an unmatched story teller and orator for women’s rights in the early years of this country. She could transfix audiences with her presence and her spellbinding oratory in spite of a lack of education and in spite of racist attacks against her and the other women suffrage advocates. She was determined and nothing could stop her. Against all odds every kind of attempt to silence her, she struggled on with her message and became famous in doing so.
So, let’s remember the lines of the poem: “If a task is once begun, never leave it till it’s done. Be the labor big or be it small, do it well or not at all.”
I plan to give it my best.