Victory and Defeat




“I may say that this is the greatest factor—the way in which the expedition is equipped—the way in which every difficulty is foreseen, and precautions taken for meeting or avoiding it. Victory awaits him who has everything in order—luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck.”

— from The South Pole, by Roald Amundsen

Today (January 18th) marks the 104th anniversary of reaching the South Pole by Robert F. Scott and his team.  While this might be cause to celebrate, especially with  the technology and equipment available to them in the early 1900’s, Robert F. Scott and his team were devastated when they realized that Roald Amundsen and his team from Norway had beaten them by just over a month in the race to the South Pole.

The most heart breaking part of this story is not that they failed to win the race, but that the whole team perished on their return from the Pole.  The struggles on the return that led to their defeat and death were varied.  Lack of food and fuel, extreme weather conditions, and sheer exhaustion, not to mention the disappointment that most likely hung over them for failing to be the first to reach the Pole.

For people to brave those conditions and achieve such great things should be noted and applauded.

Keeping a positive attitude can be tough when faced with repeated rejection, disappointment and trials, but it is the power of this positive attitude which can keep our minds thinking beyond our current circumstances toward what might be, in our future.


“We took risks, we knew we took them; things have come out against us, and therefore we have no cause for complaint, but bow to the will of Providence, determined still to do our best to the last … Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance, and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman. These rough notes and our dead bodies must tell the tale, but surely, surely, a great rich country like ours will see that those who are dependent on us are properly provided for.
— Robert F. Scott from his journal
To end on a positive note I would like to include for your viewing pleasure this clip from the Penguins of Madagascar Antarctica.