What is more valuable: The perseverance to the limit to achieve a goal, or abandonment in time if we do not see it feasible?
It is not easy to answer this question .
Certainly if we give up too soon on the way to our goals, we will never reach them, and will only accumulate failures in our projects. But if, on the contrary, we never give up the fight towards a certain goal, we’re likely to get a resounding failure, possibly in a format that is completely irreversible in our life or career.
Sometimes we have to be as brave to endure on the way to our goal, than to resign. And knowing how to move in the balance between these two actions is the key to success, combined with the desire for survival or having a long path.
During my trip crossing Antarctica I was especially excited when crossing the latitude 88º23′ (180Km. from the Pole), because just at that point, when I thought I almost had secured the victory over the South Pole, exactly 103 years before the famous Ernst Shackleton had turned, when almost was there and he would have been the first man in the world to reach the southernmost point on earth (one of the greatest goals in the history of the human expedition) . But he saw that they had not enough food to ensure the return, and given that the conditions were very bad, he preferred to save his life and that of his team. There noted in his diary that famous phrase addressed to his wife saying, "Do you like a living donkey or a dead lion?"
Next Tuesday at 19h30 we present in Barcelona (ALTAÏR library) the book "Shackleton, the Indomitable " written by Javier Cacho . I have really enjoyed it and I advise with great energy, because it discovers very exhaustively and entertaining, how was one of the great men of the heroic age of polar expedition.
He had dreamed all his life in traveling to Antarctica and being the first man to conquer the South Pole. And despite having prepared thoroughly for years and having tried on several occasions, to the limit of his strength, he never got it… but also he never lost a single man. And despite having failed in his main objective, has gone down in history as one of the great examples of leadership and team management in highly complex and uncertain situations.
From his three expeditions to the South Pole (Discovery, Nimrod and Endurance), I choose the great phrase "The Polo doesn’t worth a single life". And this is maybe one of the greatest human lessons we should learn from this kind of challenges: Put first self and team survival, society well-being and respect the environment, in front of personal dreams, desires and ambitions.
If we assume the leadership of any project or our own life, we will always be responsible for choosing the way forward… and there are always many possible directions, including to persevere, modify, waive or avoid.
The worst failure will never be not achieving the ultimate goal; the worst failure will be being aware that we have not done everything possible to achieve it, giving all we could and being absolutely committed. From there on, a withdrawal is also an option for which we have to be prepared and be brave, if it’s needed.