One hundred years ago in 1911 two teams raced to be the first explorers to reach the South Pole. Norwegian Roald Amundsen competed against his British rival, Robert Scott.
Not only did Amundsen reach the South Pole a month before Scott, but all of the men in the Norwegian team survived the three-month trip. By contrast, the British team lost five men, including Scott who died during the return. How did Amundsen prevail in such an unforgiving environment? Preparation.
For starters, Amundsen outfitted the Norwegian team in a specific type of fur and reindeer skin that provided warmth and ventilation, something he learned from the Sami people in northern Norway. By contrast, the British team wore wool.
Amundsen was an accomplished skier who spent considerable time in icy environments learning from other explorers. He utilized four dog sled teams to pull gear and supplies, each sled weighing in excess of eight hundred pounds. His British counterpart, Scott, did not even know how to ski, and the British team had to help pull their own sleds, which unfortunately carried far less food than what was needed to survive.
Finally, Amundsen and his team painstakingly planned their route and everything they took with them, leaving extra provisions along the way to support their return trip. Some of those surplus stores, no longer needed by the Norwegians, were hungrily devoured on the return trip by the starving British team.
Even though most of us will never experience such an unforgiving environment as the South Pole, preparation is still a critical element for our success. If you are struggling with a challenge, if you are wondering what it will take to reach the next level, consider what you can learn from Roald Amundsen. Brainstorm about how you can fine-tune your own level of preparation.