One of the most horrific experiences of perseverance was the expedition to Antarctica led by Ernest Shackleton from 1914 to 1916. For over two years Shackleton and his twenty-eight men endured almost unimaginable hardships. The most remarkable aspect of it was that not a single man was lost. Their ship called “Endurance” got stuck in the ice and sank leaving the entire expedition literally out in the cold. They had no radio contact and the rest of the world had no knowledge of where they were. Shackleton considered the following qualities as important for a polar explorer: “In order of priority, he said first optimism, second patience, third imagination (with which he coupled idealism), and fourth, courage. He thought every man had courage.” This is a quotation from an interview with Alexandra Shackleton, the explorer’s granddaughter.
Another word for optimism is hope. Without hope it is impossible to keep the fight in such adversity. Shackleton was a giant leader as he had such strong concern for each of his men and demonstrated in practical ways like giving his gloves to a crew member who had lost his. Consequently Shackleton suffered frostbite. He found ways to inspire his crew to believe they could make it. Another quote from the aforementioned interview: “Worsley wrote in his diary, ‘however bad things were, he somehow inspired us with the feeling that he could make things better.” If you want to be a great leader you need to be able to inspire people. Fan their hope to overcome and accomplish their objective even when faced with great difficulties.
Major fruit of perseverance is maturity of character and joyful and confident hope. These qualities fuel each other. Perseverance produces maturity and hope. In turn maturity and hope produces perseverance. In times when all seems lost and hopeless it may be at least some consolation to know with the right attitude it is producing the special fruit of maturity and hope. This may not just be for you but for the benefit of those whose lives you touch. When you are tempted to give in to discouragement and negativity keep in mind the opportunity you have to model a superior response.