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    The Power of Belief

    Debbie Ouellet  |  18.Mar.10

    I believe in the power that comes 

    From a world brought together as one

    - Nikki Yanofsky, “I Believe”

    I've always believed in the power of belief. There is a synchronicity, a connectivity to the universe we inhabit. A thread that pushes, pulls, sets us free, binds us. Motivational speakers call it positive thinking. Scientists have studied its effects for years. Theologians call it faith. However you describe it, whether spiritually or with cold hard scientific data, it is based on a simple premise: it is your chosen belief in a purpose, whatever it might be, that is the determining factor to whether (or not) you are able to accomplish it.

    The Ripple Effect of Shared Belief: It's one thing to have a firmly rooted belief system in your personal life and to see its effects. It's quite another, however, to see it in action when a large group of people combine this in a shared belief. Such was the case in February 2010 during the Winter Olympics held in Vancouver, Canada.

    At a time when Canada, like other developed nations, was still reeling from the global economic crisis, we were asked to believe in our ability to shine in a world arena previously dominated by formidable opponents like the United States, Russia and Germany. 

    For someone outside of Canada to understand what was being asked, it's important to know that Canada had never won an Olympic gold on home soil in the past. Never.

    The ‘Believe’ Campaign: As the Winter Olympics approached, radio, television and the internet repeated the Canadian Winter Olympics theme: "Believe". The word ‘Believe’ was plastered on t-shirts, hats, coffee mugs, scarves and mittens. It echoed in our ears in the song, “I Believe” by Nikki Yanofsky, which earned extensive airtime on radio and television. It was a mantra of hope and expectation.

    Perhaps it was timing. Lord knows, after the tough economic year we'd been through, we all needed something to believe in. Perhaps is was just a great marketing campaign. Perhaps it was simply the Canadian way: the grass roots, quiet approach to national pride that lives in each of us. But believe we did. People huddled around televisions and radios for seventeen glorious days.

    The Record Breaking Results: As more than half of the 34 million Canadians tuned in to watch and cheer on our athletes, our shared belief paid off. Canada set a record by winning 14 gold medals. The most gold medals by any country in a Winter Olympics. Ever. These were the best attended, most talked about Winter Olympics in history.

    Canadians were asked to believe. And we did. The ripple effect of that belief filtered into every home, every school, every place of business in our nation. Whenever a gold medal was announced, a usually reserved people stood and broke into spontaneous renditions of “Oh Canada!”. They cheered. They hugged. They celebrated. Faces were painted with bright red maple leafs. Canadian and Olympic flags waved from passing cars and trucks.

    The Power of Belief: Imagine what would happen if we could all tap into that sense of belief. Share it, spread it, stir it up. Could we impact the outcome of our country’s future? We’d follow our dreams to start new business ventures and boost our economy into a full recovery. We’d find solutions to save our environment. Feed the hungry. Heal the sick of body and spirit.

    If only we could believe.

    Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, when talking about Canada’s economic recovery into the new decade, said, "Our recovery will not be achieved through government actions alone...Much also depends on the confidence, resilience and perseverance of our people. Canadians have all these characteristics in spades. We have just received a timely reminder and boost from the success of our athletes at the Vancouver and Whistler Olympics."

    Canada’s Century: In an article in Forbes Magazine earlier this year, Forbes predicted that this will be Canada's century. In addition to the strength of our banking system (thank goodness that Canadians are a careful conservative bunch) we fared the best out of all developed countries after this past global economic crisis. With our relatively low population in comparison to geography, we have the lowest debt burden of any G8 country. In fact, our per capita debt burden is less than half of that of the United States. We are a land of natural resources and are the biggest supplier of crude oil to the United States.

    Earlier this year, Canada hosted the G7 Finance meeting in Nunavut. We will host the G8 and G20 conferences later in 2010. Canada has become a preferred venue for global and humanitarian events not only because of how well our banking system survived this past economic crisis. We have also earned a reputation as a nation that welcomes and promotes cultural diversity. As Bill Clinton said, "In a world darkened by ethnic conflicts that tear nations apart, Canada stands as a model of how people of different cultures can live and work together in peace, prosperity and mutual respect."

    A History of Belief: Have we always been a nation of believers? I like to think so. In 1967, when making his speech about Canada's upcoming centennial, then Prime Minister, Lester Pearson said, "As we enter our centennial year, we are still a young nation, very much in the formative stages. Our national condition is still flexible enough that we can make almost anything we wish of our nation. No other country is in a better position than Canada to go ahead with the evolution of a national purpose devoted to all that is good and noble and excellent in the human spirit."

    When you look at the Canada of today in light of that statement made some forty-three years ago, I’d say that we’re well on our way to being the country that is “devoted to all that is good and noble and excellent in the human spirit”. Why? Because we believed it could be so.

    As the Winter Olympics shine in our collective memory, I would ask that all Canadians keep that flame burning brightly. Remember the power of a shared belief. It is this resilience, this positive approach to resolving problems, that will see us through a new decade poised in possibilities.

    If only we could believe.


    Comments :

    1. Posted on 19.Mar.10   From: Laura Orr

    I "BELIEVE" each one of us holds the power for positive change, may the collective legacy of the inspiration the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games created for our Nation be felt by many future generations.
    "Oh Canada, our home and native land" thank you for the article Debbie as always you inspire as well as teach.

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