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Take your cue from the survivors

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

Polar explorer Roald Amundsen’s most important quality? He was willing to learn.

The tall, blue-eyed Norwegian, who slept with the windows open and whose mother dubbed him “The Last Viking,” grew fascinated with Eskimos during his adventure through the Northwest Passage in 1903. He lived as they lived, zipping downhill in dogsleds, sleeping in igloos and wearing reindeer fur.

That left Amundsen ready in 1911 to try to beat Britain’s Robert Falcon Scott to the South Pole.

While the ponies in Scott’s team starved, the Norwegians sewed reindeer-skin boots and shaped their sleds' slender runners just as the Netsilik Eskimos did. While Scott’s team trudged nearly 1,800 miles to the pole, Amundsen’s dog sleds glided there in 57 days:  five weeks ahead of the British, who all died on the trip home.

Lesson: Look around at those who have survived and thrived in a hostile atmosphere. They’ve got something to teach you.

— Adapted from “The Explorers: The Last Viking,” Angie C. Marek, U.S. News & World Report

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