optimism

I got this story from a fwd that came my way last week…

“WHEN SIR ERNEST Shackleton set out to sea in 1914, he did so with the ambitious goal of making the first land crossing of Antarctica…

But his ship, the Endurance, never even reached its base camp.  It became stuck in the icy waters for months and eventually sank.  Shackleton and his twenty-seven-member crew were stranded more than twelve hundred miles from civilization, drifting on ice floes in the terrifying cold with just three rickety lifeboats, a few tents, and limited provisions.

Eventually, they reached a small island and waited while Shackleton and a handful of men took one of the lifeboats eight hundred miles over tumultuous seas to a whaling station.  Shackleton returned with a rescue ship, and every man survived the eighteen-month ordeal.

How did he keep the hopes of his men from fizzling out…?

First, he modeled optimism.  Shackleton, who once described optimism as “true moral courage,” always believed he and his crew would survive, and his optimism was contagious.  He communicated that optimism to everyone around him.

Second, he nurtured his men’s sense of significance.  He kept everyone involved by seeking their opinions and by giving them tasks that made them feel like they were part of the solution.

Third, he encouraged them with humor and promoted a lighthearted atmosphere.  Shackleton recognized that under extreme pressure, the ability to lighten the mood neutralizes fear and enables a team to focus, reenergize, and prevail over daunting obstacles.  People might find it strange that one of the few items that Shackleton rescued from the sinking ship was a crewman’s banjo.  He did it so the group could have music.”[1]

This summer I read this quote: “pessimism kills faith” … these words have stuck with me and make so much sence when considering the promises of God for His people. It is incredible to consider the greatness of God and how God wishes to work through us. The potential of each person is amazing when we consider these words: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Phil 4:13)

[1] thanks to http://www.forthright.net/kneemail/

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