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  • Writer's pictureRobert Stevenson

Never Let Other Opinions Determine Your Fate

Robert Stevenson Blog - Be careful who you listen to, they don't know what you are capable of

When I was in my early twenties, I had the opportunity to hear Zig Ziglar speak in Atlanta, Georgia to over 20,000 people at the convention center. Many great speakers spoke that day, but the one who impressed me the most was Zig. He shared a story about his best friend, Bernie Lofchick, that I remember like it was yesterday. The story had a profound effect on my life, so I thought I would share it with you.

You see, Bernie and his wife Elaine had a child born with cerebral palsy. The consensus opinion from thirty different doctors was their son would never be able to walk, talk, or even count to ten. Yes, it was unanimous; thirty doctors were in agreement their child, David, should be institutionalized because there was nothing they could do to help their son. Can you imagine the pain and frustration Bernie and Elaine were feeling every time they heard the SAME diagnosis. They all suggested that they put their son in an institution, for the good of the, “normal” members of the family. But they kept pushing forward. They wouldn’t accept the fate the doctors were suggesting for their child.

After exhaustive research, Bernie found a doctor who was considered the world’s best expert in cerebral palsy. His name was Dr. Perlstein from Chicago Illinois, and he was booked for more than two years in advance. Bernie somehow made an arrangement, where David would be the first alternate if there was a cancellation. Just eleven days later a time slot opened up and they bundled David up and flew him to Chicago for the examination. They threw out all of the other x-rays and reports and started all over.

It was probably the most extensive examination anyone has ever been given. When the examination was over Dr. Perlstein said, “your son has cerebral palsy. He will never be able to walk, or talk, or count to ten, if you listen to the prophets of doom. But, I believe there is something you can do for your boy, if you are willing to do your part.”

He said you will have to push this little boy beyond all human endurance, and when he collapses, you will have to pick him up and push him some more. He told them that they would have to be patience personified, because there would be many, many months where they would be unable to detect any progress at all, but if they ever stop, he would go all the way back and he would have to start all over. This would take the type of commitment, on everyone’s part, that people talk about, but can’t keep.

They hired a physical fitness expert and a body builder. They built a gym in the basement of their home, and they went to work. After two years of intense training, everyone in the family was called. They said David is ready … please come on home. They all came to watch David do “ONE” push-up.

By the time David was 13 years old, the young boy who the “experts” said would never be able to walk, or talk, or count to ten, had already done as many as 1,100 push-ups in a single day, had run six miles without stopping, was able to ride a bicycle, was skating on the neighborhood hockey team, and was the best table tennis player in the city of Wayne Canada. The boy whom they said would never be able to count to ten, was doing extremely well at ninth grade math, as a seventh grader.

So far as anyone knows, David Lofchick is the only victim of cerebral palsy, ever to receive and ordinary, unrated, $100,000 life insurance policy. David Lofchick went on to become the number one real estate salesperson, at the number one real estate firm in the city of Winnipeg, Canada. He also learned to shoot golf in the low 80’s, got married and had several children.

I am not saying that every situation can be overcome … but I am suggesting that we should exhaust every possibility. The tenacity, willpower and fortitude of Bernie, Elaine, and David are something to draw from. If you don’t keep trying, you will never know if the solution is just around the corner.

I think the following anonymous quote says it best:

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do.

It comes from overcoming the things

you once thought you couldn’t.”

Always remember, impossible only means they have “yet” to find a solution.


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