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Stacey Cornelius
I'm a writer, jargon translator, idea junkie & creative entrepreneur with a Fine Art degree. I have years of professional experience in retail, theatre, fine craft and information technology.  Read More

Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done

August 23, 2011

Don't let them tell you it can't be done.
Image by Corey Leopold

Fighting against the odds
On a Monday morning in August, a rebel army enters the capital city of Libya, determined to oust a dictator. They are fighting a civil war that has raged for months, prevailing against steep odds and numerous setbacks.

The battle is not over.

The world watches, and waits.

One man, a dream, and a life cut short
On a Monday morning in August, a man dies of cancer in Toronto. A man who dedicated his life to public service, who was a steadfast and fiery advocate of social justice. A man who took his political party from just 13 seats when he won its leadership in 2003 to 103 seats in May 2011, becoming the Official Opposition in Canada’s Parliament for the first time in history.

Just over three months after his historic victory, he is dead.

Two wheels and a mission
On a Monday morning in August, a group of men on bicycles rides through a small community in Nova Scotia. A sign proclaims their journey: San Francisco to St. John’s. It is a remarkable trek across a continent and an international border, raising funds for at-risk youth along the way.

Some are marathoner-thin, all are weather-worn, and they’re just days from their destination.

This Monday morning in August is marked by uncertainty, struggle, heartache, and hope.

“There are great challenges before you.” 
Canadian readers will already know this: the man who died was Jack Layton, known to most of us as simply “Jack” (coincidentally, Jack was well known as an avid cyclist and cycling advocate in Toronto).

Knowing his life was nearing its end, he wrote a letter to Canadians, his party, his supporters, and to everyone who wants to make our world a better, more compassionate place.

Near the end of the letter is a favourite quote of Jack’s, borrowed from Tommy Douglas, the father of Canadian Medicare:

 ”Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.”

Graphic designer Stuart Thursby has created downloadable quotes from Jack’s letter. The full text is here.


About the author: Stacey Cornelius is a writer and artist who believes successful creative ventures run far deeper than snazzy sales pitches. She helps empower artists, designers, writers and craftspeople to do their best work and show it to the world.

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Comments (4)

Hi Stacey,
I often feel the challenges and up hill ride to live my dreams. I am very glad to be reminded of a real challenge, real strength. Real determination that we all have but don’t always use.
The mind set is to stay focused and to be thankful for what has been done, not what hasn’t . There is no other way to reach the crest of the hill. Jack Layton has taught us to be vulnerable, real, and clearly it can be done. He did it, and so will I.

Stacey Cornelius Reply:

We do have the determination, don’t we. And I have no doubt you’ll get exactly where you want to go. Great to see you here, Wanda.

Great post, Stacey.

Jack was such an amazing man. I never met him, but I was so inspired by him.

I hope to take that inspiration to action this fall as we have a provincial election in MB and I intend to do what I can to keep the NDP in power. ‘People first’ has always been the motto for our provincial government. People before profit (their blue opposition thinks they can ride the wave of the national C party.)

We all need to find a way in our own communities to make a difference in keeping people first.

Stacey Cornelius Reply:

There seems to be a real polarization between people who are deeply committed to community and those who believe in profit no matter what. That observation might just be because there’s more access to information (seeing more rather than being more), but it’s heartening to meet people who are willing to work to make a difference in whatever way they can.

Thanks for dropping in, Doreen.