In Endurance Shackleton's Incredible Voyage, Alfred Lansing recounts the tale of one of the greatest successes of the Twentieth Century. Ironically, Lansing's detailed account of the 1915 Trans-Antarctic Expedition illuminates the stark reality that Sir Ernest Shackleton's expedition did not fulfill its goal. In fact, the expedition never even set foot upon the continent that they had intended to cross. The outstanding success of that motley crew of adventurers was in their ability to endure the harsh Antarctic climate. Despite having their ship crushed by an ice cap, spending the dark Antarctic winter hopelessly alone, suffering through a stormy voyage in an open dingy, and stumbling blindly across an uncharted island, Shackleton and his men persisted in their quest to survive. Truly, Shackleton set an outstanding example of never giving up.
Although it may first appear that Shackleton's greatest perseverance resided in his stamina to endure the harsh marching and sailing that it took to lead his men back to safety, this physical strength was only a small part of the real endurance. No, it was not even in dealing with the chaffing absence of any substitute for toilet paper that Shackleton manifested his endurance, but it was prevalent in his underlying attitude. Endurance is more than just taking the next grueling step; it is maintaining a belief that all efforts3/4 whether they are physical or mental3/4 can improve the future. This incessantly positive attitude is the very foundation of stamina because when there is a will, a sense of self-worth, or a shard of hope, the body and mind will find a way. In addition, a positive attitude will unit...
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...A life filled with love for humans who are equal simply because they are human yields a fulfilling life despite the difficulty of it. Through believing that we can clear the next hurdle, humans can live together in a supportive community rather than a destructive band. There is no need to say that one person, one race, one nation is better than any other one because power mongers and hedonists rarely succeed in life. Through believing that the goal is accomplishable, humans can always take the next step towards this improved world. It is bizarre how a story about a crew in such a peculiar situation could be a blue print for the way to succeed in life in general. For the daunting goals as well as the insignificant ones, endurance of the mind is the key.
Lansing, Alfred. Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage.Carroll and Graf: New York, 1986.
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