Underdogs, Misfits and Me

by Helene Louise  

One of the primary factors that motivated me to write about my experience coming to terms with my daughter's stroke and now, motivates me to continue developing materials to encourage others, is that I know how discouraging it is to be met with negativity and how difficult it is to continue persevering when everyone around you keeps telling you something is not possible. Ultimately, as I've written, my daughter is overcoming many of the limitations placed on her by the specialists early in her life. And as for myself, even though my life unravelled at the worst possible time, I eventually found a "new normal" as well as an appreciation for the beauty in the tiny triumphs that came out of our struggles.

 Therefore, it was with great interest that I read Malcolm Gladwell's book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants. In an earlier blog entry, I made a link between an article he wrote years ago in the New Yorker on a study which showed that no “perfect” tomato sauce will appeal equally to all people, and my experience motivating my daughter throughout her rehabilitation.

In David and Goliath, however, the link with my own experience is much more direct. Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles, disadvantages, disability, discrimination and loss, and shows how much of what is beautiful in the world has come from suffering and adversity. Having felt like a misfit more often than I care to admit, found beauty after persevering to overcome difficulties and actively defended my daughter against discrimination, I found this book inspiring, thought-provoking and reassuring in many ways.

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