Let me share an extract from ‘Endurance’, a very commendable book by Alfred Lansing on Shackleton’s incredible voyage to the Antarctic on the verge of World War I. The best remedy for those who think they have it tough.
The below happened in 1916, after almost two years shipwrecked in the Antarctic, including four months on a tiny floe, sleeping on ice, feeding on seals and penguins, spending 79 days without the sun during the long winter below 60 degrees, an open boat journey through the Weddell Sea, one of the harshest and most unpredictable waters on this planet… In summary, too much hardship to fathom for the average office dweller, and even humble adventurers like ourselves. What got Shackleton and his crew through was their optimism, their mindset. Failure wasn’t a notion to be had as it would have let nowhere.
They were tired now to the point of exhaustion. They found a little sheltered sport behind a rock and sat down, huddled together with their arms around one another for warmth. Almost at once Worsley and Crean fell asleep, and Shackleton, too, caught himself nodding. Suddenly he jerked his head upright. All the years of Antarctic experience told him that this was the danger sign – the fatal sleep that trails off into freezing death. He fought to stay awake for five long minutes, then he woke the others, telling them that they had slept for half an hour.
Out of all detailed and captivating events described in the book, this is the one that most caught my attention. They were two days away from making their way back to civilization, salvation, couldn’t even remember the last time they had had a decent sleep and hadn’t closed their eyes for many long days and nights in a row. The three men had set out to cross the tremendous glaciers and mountains on Elephant Island. An unprecedented defeat that only once since, under best conditions and with professional equipment, has been attempted. For the three men, it was either survival for themselves and the remaining 25 crew who were stuck and waiting on the other side of the inhospitable island, or death for all.
It made me think that on a much subtler level, this is what happens to most of us in the convenience of everyday life. We fall asleep, we give in to the path of least resistance, we close our eyes to the inner voice which pushes us to live a life of extraordinary design.
If you can dream it, you can be it, do it.
How many of us have dreams in the back of our heads which we don’t dare to even speak out? Yet the dream won’t go away because it so deeply resonates within. If you embrace life with passion and trust that the universe is always there to support you, you will be able to seize every magic opportunity and embrace every new adventure. Give yourself permission to dream big. Make this your Christmas present to yourself.
Now is the time to reach for the stars.