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MEN WANTED : FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY. SMALL WAGES, BITTER COLD, LONG MONTHS OF COMPLETE DARKNESS, CONSTANT DANGER, SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL. HONOUR AND RECOGNITION IN CASE OF SUCCESS.

The above could serve as a recruitment ad for any present day bootstrap start-up were it not for its gender bias. It is in fact wording from the ad placed by Sir Ernest Shackelton in 1914 to recruit the crew for his Endurance expedition. One of the great survival story’s of human kind, Shackelton succeeded by putting his people first when all the odds were stacked against him.

Acknowledging the magnitude of the task ahead of him he renamed his ship ‘Endurance’ in honor of his family motto ‘Fortitudine vincimus – by endurance we conquer’. If we are to learn anything from Shackelton it is to never give up, leadership is everywhere or nowhere, follow your gut, and always remember, life is all about people.

What is most striking in reading this ad all these years on is how refreshingly honest its content. You have to admire honesty. A couple of years back I was invited to a friends home to watch an Army-Navy football game. The son of my proud host had recently joined the Marines. When I asked him what were the Marines trained to do he replied ‘we kill people and we blow things up Sir’. Regardless of whether you agree or not with the answer you have to admire its honesty. Only when more people are honest about the true problems facing us in our world today will we be able to begin addressing their causes and not their effects. Doing so will enable us to resolve these issues and make our world a better place for all human kind.

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