Steady pace, wins the race (or how not to die in the Antarctic)

article-2087811-0F7D433300000578-113_964x513In the book Great by Choice, author Jim Collins shares the story of two explorers, Amundsen and Scott, who led separate teams on an expedition race to the South Pole in 1911. The journey there and back was roughly 1,400 miles, which is equivalent to a round-trip from New York City to Chicago.

Although both teams would travel the same distance as each other through extremely harsh weather conditions, each team took an entirely different approach to the journey.

Scott’s team would walk as far as possible on the good weather days and then rest up on the bad days to conserve energy.

Amundsen’s team adhered to a strict plan of walking 20 miles every day no matter what the weather. On good days when Amundsen’s team were very capable of walking further, he was adamant that they walk no more than 20 miles each day to conserve their energy.

Which one succeeded?

The team that took consistent action. By taking consistent action daily with the 20-mile march rather than spurts of inconsistent action, they made it to the South pole on schedule. Scott’s team that only travelled on good days ended up dying on the journey.

I think that the lesson of this true story is that to really go far, do your 20 miles per day. And stick to it. No more. No less.