Slow is smooth, smooth is fast
Two teams arrived in Antarctica in 1911 with the same goal: to become the first one to reach the South Pole. Roald Amundsen from Norway and Robert Scott from the UK led two different teams to win the race to the south pole.
Both managed to reach the pole. But Amundsen won the race and reached it 34 days earlier than Scott.
The worst bit. Four of Scott’s teammates died on the return journey, just 18km away from their food depot.
A lot of comparisons have been made on both teams’ approaches. Books have been written on it in great detail, comparing the spots they chose as their base camps and the use of dogs vs. ponies.
Amundsen used dogs on the expedition, while Scott used ponies and other details. Dogs can bear cold weather better, so Amundsen could leave 11 days earlier on the expedition while Scott had to wait for the weather to become warmer.
Scott took three motor sleds on the expedition, but all three broke down very soon. Amundsen focused on making sure everyone on his team knew how to ski well.
Scott’s team was malnourished, and many faced scurvy because of a lack of vitamin C in their diet.
Amundsen’s team actually gained weight during their expedition.
But the most significant difference in both their approaches was the pacing of their expedition.
Amundsen had a constant pace of covering between 24-32 km per day. Even if the weather were good, he would not go further.
On the other hand, Scott pushed and trekked as far as 73 km in a single day when the weather and terrain were perfect! The ponies got extremely tired, which affected them the next day.
While on individual good days, Scott could push and cover a lot more ground than Amundsen, overall, his pace was much slower.
Amundsen understood that pacing was key to coming back alive.
The slow tortoise beat the faster hare because the hare was inconsistent in his pacing. Steady wins.
American Navy Seal has the saying: Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.
Elite infantry never runs on a battlefield, whereas not so well trained militia sprints.
The faster-moving militia has to scamper to take cover when things go wrong. Their supply lines break up. And they fail to hold on to their land.
The sure-footed elite infantry, while moving slowly, achieves their win a lot quicker.
Steady consistent pacing is important for going far. Fast is not sustainable. It leads to burnout.
You can pace well by measuring your peak performance and slowing down from there.
Pacing is all about understanding your capabilities and managing your energy.
I am on vacation from 23 May to 6 July. So if I miss an issue of this newsletter or don’t respond to your comments on time, that is why.
Please keep your comments coming. They encourage me and tell me what resonates with you.
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That’s all from me this week.
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