In his groundbreaking work, ‘Great by Choice,’ Jim Collins narrates the riveting story of two explorers, Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott, both hell-bent on becoming the first humans to reach the South Pole. This epic race, unfolding over 1400 treacherous miles in the year 1911, embodies the spirit of the “20 Mile March” — a concept that delivers profound insights into life and spirituality.
Amundsen, a Norwegian explorer, adhered to a disciplined regimen: irrespective of the weather conditions, he and his team would march 20 miles daily. On favorable days, when they could have progressed further, they would still halt at 20 miles to conserve energy for harsher days ahead.
Scott, a British explorer, adopted a different approach. On good days, he would push his team to cover maximum distance. However, on stormy days, they would wait, losing valuable time and depleting their resources.
Ultimately, it was Amundsen’s methodical, consistent approach that led him to the South Pole 34 days ahead of Scott, who, tragically, did not survive the return journey. This dramatic story serves as a potent metaphor for the journey of life and the spiritual quest we undertake.
The 20 Mile March, as demonstrated by Amundsen, underscores the power of consistency, resilience, and foresight in life. Success, in any field, is seldom achieved through sporadic bursts of effort; rather, it’s the result of consistent, diligent efforts over time. This is true for academic pursuits, career advancements, physical fitness, and any other aspect of personal growth.
However, when viewed through the prism of spirituality, the 20 Mile March takes on a richer, more profound meaning. Spirituality is not an overnight transformation or a destination that can be reached with erratic bouts of passion. It’s a lifelong journey demanding daily commitment and steadfastness, akin to the relentless march of the explorers.
Every day, regardless of the circumstances, we are called to take steady steps on our spiritual path. Some days, the march might include prayer, meditation, or contemplative reading. Other days, it might mean extending compassion and kindness or practicing gratitude. On bright days of spiritual insight, we must resist the temptation to rush ahead; instead, we should pause, absorb, and save our energy for the inevitable stormy days of uncertainty and spiritual drought.
Amundsen’s disciplined approach and Scott’s tragic end remind us that spirituality is not a race. There’s no first or last, no ultimate destination to strive for quickly. It is a steady, relentless march of the soul towards understanding, peace, and divine connection, traversed at our own pace, one day at a time.
In essence, the 20 Mile March symbolizes that life and spirituality are not about random spurts of enthusiasm or grand gestures. They are about the continuous journey, the everyday commitment, and the unwavering pursuit of growth, whether personal or spiritual. It is through this daily march — through the peaceful and turbulent days of life — that we can truly embark on a path of self-discovery, transformation, and enlightenment, one step at a time.
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