A smooth sea never made a talented mariner” – English proverb

One historical figure who must have appreciated the meaning of isolated insignificance is adventurer Ernest Shackleton. Stranded in the icy wasteland of the Antarctic. Featured as a part of National Geographic’s article “Famous Failures”…

  • “Failure—never sought, always dreaded, impossible to ignore—is the specter that hovers over every attempt at exploration. Yet without the sting of failure to spur us to reassess and rethink, progress would be impossible….Today there is growing recognition of the importance of failure. Educators ponder how to make kids more comfortable with it. Business schools teach its lessons. Psychologists study how we cope with it, usually with an eye toward improving the chance of success. Indeed, the very word ‘success’ is derived from the Latin succedere, ‘to come after’ —and what it comes after, yes, is failure. One cannot exist without the other. Oceanographer Robert Ballard, a veteran of 130 undersea expeditions and discoverer of the Titanic, calls this interplay the yin yang of success and failure. Even at their most miserable, failures provide information to help us do things differently next time. “I learned how not to climb the first four times I tried to summit Everest,” says alpinist Pete Athans, who’s reached the world’s highest peak seven times. ‘Failure gives you a chance to refine your approach. You’re taking risks more and more intelligently.’ In his case this meant streamlining his team and choosing less challenging routes for his first successful ascent, in 1990. Failure is also a reminder that luck plays a role in any endeavour.”

Today marks the day when he overcame incalculable odds to return back to South Georgia in a row boat after his ship Endurance had been crushed by Antarctic sea ice epically described in the video above.