Mental Endurance in Endurance Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

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Mental Endurance in Alfred Lansing's Endurance Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

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
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In order to endure, one must get along with himself to prevent the self-pity that cripples the human organism, and he must also cooperate with his peers unless he wants to abandon any help he might have received from the resourceful human community around him. There it is then, Shackleton's indefatigable trait, the positive attitude that permits people to explode through obstacles by the means of cooperation of mind, body, and peers.

While I am not as experienced in the faculty of endurance as Shackleton was, my trials as a distance runner have bequeathed me with a concrete idea of what endurance is. My debilitating cramps, my slogs through mud pits that were formerly legitimate trails, and my stomach emptying wretches on the side of the sizzling track have enstilled in me the prerequisite for a belief that what I am doing really matters. When I fail to maintain a positive mental attitude, my exhausted legs slow in their powerful dance; they simply refuse to go any faster as the blanket of apathy envelopes me. Although my running horror story pales in comparison to Shackleton's epic of frostbite and starvation, the workout early on a rainy Saturday morning in November required that I suck it up and believe in what I was doing. I had already run three one mile repeats at a ridiculously fast rate of speed over the trail with the biggest hill in site. When Coach asked
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