Friday, July 31, 2015


 Too frequently people are terrified of stepping up as a leader for fear that they will make a big enough impact, and instead they may choose to be a follower. The dare comes when trying to make everyone be certain of in you which is difficult enough. A true leader in my eyes is one who can pick themselves back up when times are tough, and one who others are inspired by to follow the same type of footsteps.

Shackleton received respect of the crew men, and in fact, the respect of millions today, by being a leader who his men, both emotionally and physically above anything else. His amazing leadership abilities contributed to twenty-seven men successfully facing the almost two years they were stranded in the Antarctic. They all had faith from Shackleton not to give up when the voyage ship, the Endurance, was stuck and then crushed in the ice of the Weddell Sea.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Tonic Immobility

Tonic Immobility refers to a person's performance in high stress situations.  It is when a person freezes during a dangerous situation and cannot escape from the threatening danger at hand.  In just the first chapter when Macklin and Wild were sent back into the ship to retrieve supplies, Macklin took in the dangers around him and froze.  Had Wild not been there to step up and enter the small space to pass supplies to Macklin, who knows what Macklin's fate would have been.  It is strange to me that a person's survival instincts do no kick in, rather than merely freezing in the middle of a dangerous situation.  The lecture slides specifically say that freezing is a survival instinct in animals because their predators do not attack non moving creatures.  This fight or flight response seems a bit primitive for humans to experience when it comes to a life or death situation.  Another question that comes to mind is whether or not the definition of tonic immobility can be related to instances that are not life or death; for instance, if someone freezes during an audition or test is it considered tonic immobility or not since it is not a dangerous situation?

Self Control

The lecture notes regarding self control tells of Ulysses and the Sirens.  The story of Ulysses and the Sirens show parallels to the story of Shackleton and his crew.  Ulysses's motivation for getting home was returning to Penelope, while Shackleton and his crew wished to get home to return to their loved ones, among other reasons, as well.  Ulysses and his men would become possessed by sirens on the island and be prevented from eating or sleeping.  Rather than wasting time and panicking, him and the crew worked early while they were in control and not under the Sirens control.  Though Shackleton and his men were not possessed by sirens, they were at the mercy of their environment.  In order for them to succeed in their travels they had to work while the weather allowed them to be in control.  Much like the sirens, the weather often prevented the crew from eating and sleeping when it would have been desirable.  Rather than panicking and giving up both Shackleton's men and Ulysses's men had to use self control to work to the best of their ability when the opportunity presented itself. 


In part two chapter one of the book, Shackleton ordered the cook to add pieces of blubber into the stew for dinner so the crew would get used to eating it.  Though Shackleton may not have known this for sure, it was actually a great idea on his part.  The mere exposure effect essentially says that food that is eaten over and over again increases the person's liking for the specific food, in this case blubber.  In addition, the book says though some men removed the blubber from the stew, others ate it for the mere reason that they were starving.  This is an example of conditioned food preferences; when a person eats food when they are more hungry, they tend to prefer it to food they eat when they are less hungry.  Whether or not Shackleton realized it, he was paving the most positive way for his crew in terms of their less than desirable food situation. 


     The basic “rule” of behavior is that, greater incentives will lead to more effort and higher performance. Environment is critical in not only our development, but is influential on almost all of our behaviors. Incentives are motivations in the environment, both positive or negative, that motivate our behavior.

        In Endurance, it was obvious Shackleton and the crew endured many offsets through out their journey. However, Shackleton was able to keep them all focused and in high spirits. In hopes of giving the crew an incentive to keep going, after the ship had sunk, Shackleton gave the men new responsibilities and still offered to pay the men. The incentives gave the men confidence and hope when they were at their darkest time. Since there were so many negative incentives such as danger, the men surly needed the same or more positive incentives to keep going. The power of incentive is tremendous in anyone’s life, as seen in this story. Returning with such an unbelievable accomplishment, the incentives were well worth going for.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Power of Incentive

I think that incentive is more powerful that many people think. Sure we have desires, so we set our standards for something and do the best that we can to achieve success and certain goals. However, what I have found to be true, is that there must always be some kind of incentive laced into our goals. No one wants anything for no reason. We always want something because of what we get out of it. In most cases I would say quality over quantity, but to each their own. Either way, quality always has the biggest impact, even with quantity, because to some people the higher quantity of something may be what gives it quality. I think that we live in a very materialistic and greedy society. That being said, without incentive, people are less likely to desire things as strongly as they do. Incentive is what ultimately motivates individuals.

Fear of the Unknown

Ernest Shackleton amazes me in Endurance because the crew has been stuck on an ice floe for four months and Shackleton manages to keep the crew together as a homogenized team.  The team, at this point has an overwhelming fear of the unknown.  Which way will the ice floe carry them?  Will they ever reach one of the islands in open water?  Will they ever see land again?  Will the ice pack ever open so they navigate boats?  Where will their next meal come from?  Despite all of these unknowns, Shackleton managed to keep them together and put their faith in him, and, in themselves.  As luck had it, two Sea Leopards appeared and provided them large amounts of food to compensate for Shackleton's shortsightedness in not bringing additional supplies from ocean camp.  Now, as the ice pack starts to open and the crew heads for open water; they face more unknown perils at the hands of the open sea, but they still have faith in Shackleton to see them through this.  Shackleton's abilities as a leader and inherent confidence is quite impressive.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Book Report

The book I chose to read was “Beyond Freedom and Dignity” by B.F. Skinner. The book was published in 1971, about two decades after one of Skinner’s other popular books “Walden Two”. The book covered a large variety of topics from punishment, alternatives, values, culture, and what it means to be human. He really focuses on the idea that with the advances in technology and knowledge of our biological being continues to improve we control our destiny as a species more than ever before. He talked extensively about the idea that we can build a more stable and successful society in the future as long as we understand human behavior.
This is where he talks about free will and gives a very different definition of what free will is compared to what I am used to seeing. He says that biological factors and your environment exclusively affect all human behavior over the course of your life. This shoots down any possibilities of divine intervention, free will, or any type of morality. This is an almost cold and mechanical idea of what life is like and it was definitely interesting to see his take on that. He backs this idea up with his psychological system known as radical behaviorism that is a three-step process that ends with classical conditioning (or learned conditioning). Skinner uses this almost mechanical outlook on life to point out that we, as a species, now posses the technology and knowledge to ensure a secure future for both ourselves and our environment and he believes that we will move towards that.
That last part was my favorite part of this book because I think it is the most interesting. Admittedly I have never been a huge Skinner fan from some of the things I have read by him in the past and his cold outlook on things isn’t something I normally agree with. However, when he mentions that we as a species are capable of ensuring a secure future he brings up a very valid point. In nature, life is in many ways a simple act of survival, and even as humans we face that experience sometimes such as Shackleton and his men did in the Artic that we are simply trying to survive. We instinctively will try and survive for the basic instinct of reproducing and ensuring a future generation, just as any other species of organism does. The interesting thing to see though is that since 1971 when this was published, we have moved farther and farther away from that idea and now live in a time where we seem to completely live in a state of ensuring happiness NOW and not the future, which is the opposite of what he felt would happen. Here is a video that I think shows the direction we are really heading which is so different from the one that Skinner describes which was to preserve life not destroy it like we do-

Putting aside differences

It seems that, despite living in a time of "acceptance", we are more black and white in our views as a society more than every before. Never before have so many people been able to share their views with so many other people like they can now with the internet and social media. Where before you may feel one way about something, you probably didn't have the opportunity or reason to tell that to other people. Now, you see a post on social media that you don't agree with and odds are your going to fire back with a response to argue it. The fact of the matter is there are 7 billion people on this earth, each and every one is individually unique and has a mind that has no exact match, and therefor no one will have your exact same opinions and views. It is for that reason that most situations or social issues really don't have black and white answers and in order to advance and move forward as a species we need to realize this as a whole; because set in stone division will get us no where. When you read a story like this one you see that you had 28 men, all from different places with different skills and interests. They didn't always agree on everything, they didn't always feel the same way about things, and they all had different emotions to different issues, but that didn't stop them from working together to do what had to be done. There is a lesson to be learned from this, you don't always have to agree with everyone around you and you don't even have to always be understanding of them, but accepting people for who they are and finding mutual ground and working together is what makes the world go round.

When Preparation isn't enough

I looked more into the ship used by Shackleton, the Endurance, and what I found was surprising. The vessel was purpose built specifically for arctic exploration and was designed to be basically unsinkable, much like the titanic was around that same time. It was possibly the strongest wooden ship ever designed and built, one which had every detail worked out in order to survive whatever was thrown at it. The ship had one Achilles heal which was the haul shape.It was flat and could become jammed between the ice without the ability to escape, which ultimately lead to its demise. The point I am making is that you can prepare all you want for some things in life and pay extreme attention to all the small details, but never forget to look at the big picture. I personally am very precise with things and like to pay attention to small details, and as time goes on I am realizing while attention to detail is important, it can't be the only focus. Always try your best for things to go exactly how you want them, but always prepare for when they don't. Shackleton and his crew had what was possibly the best ship on earth at that time for their journey and it still went horribly wrong, which really proves the point I am trying to make.

Putting Life in Perspective

Shackleton faced so many uncertainties during his journey and lived in a constant state of being in the unknown. You often hear people talk about how my generation seems to be lost and faces so much uncertainty and it really puts it into perspective for you when you read something like what Shackleton faced. Yes, times can be hard and there are many challenges in this world from school to getting a job to social injustices to changes in cultures, but when you look at the grand scheme of things, we have it very easy. I will be the first to admit it’s hard to look at life that way sometimes. I didn’t have money for college; the only reason I was able to go (this is my last class) was because I worked a full time job in order to cover at least some of the cost. I worked very hard to move up within the company I work for and when I wasn’t busy with that I was doing my best to learn and complete my courses. None of that was easy, and I know many other students who had it far worse, but when you read stories of survival like this one and the courage and strength it takes to get through that when there appears to be no hope, its very humbling.   

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Shackleton; The Epitome of a Leader

   The story of Ernest Shackleton and his crew is one that can resonate with readers on many different levels - a story of man's desire to live, a story of survival, a story of excitement and adventure - but one level of the story struck me profoundly; the story of unyielding leadership and the desire to achieve life goals, mainly portrayed through Shackleton himself.

   Reading through the encounters of these 28 men, there is no question to as how Shackleton obtained the tribute that can be read in Chapter 1: "For scientific leadership, give me Scott, for swift and efficient travel, Amundsen. But when you are in a hopeless situation, when you are seeing no way out, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton." This is a powerful tribute and rings true to Shackleton's steadfast loyalty to both his men and his motivation to the achievement of his goal. Time and time again, he proved himself to be a phenomenal leader in his planning and execution - even going as far to being able to read his crew's personalities and divide the camp up as to reduce friction from within to maintain a sense of calm and positivity. Men like Ernest Shackleton go down in history as figurative Gods, with their names echoing through history as examples of leadership - prototypes to base future leaders off of.

  One final sidebar that should be noted in regards to the achievement of goals, a quote from the beginning of chapter 3 that speaks to Shackleton's determination to the adventure he so desperately wanted - and can also speak to any individual facing adversity on the road to achieving life goals:

   "The simple act of sailing had carried him beyond the world of reversals, frustrations, and inanities. And in the space of a few short hours, life had been reduced from a highly complex existence, with a thousand petty problems, to one of the barest simplicity in which only one real task remained—the achievement of the goal".

Friday, July 24, 2015


I believe there are many drugs that can be addictive especially alcohol among first time users. In America there has always been a heavy burden of controlled and uncontrolled substance abuse. I can say that marijuana is on the rise because of its non addictive characteristics. Soon I think it will be the drug of choice that will save the economy of America due to its vast consumption among all ages. Marijuana has been experienced in California and Colorado and it is only a matter of time before it is expanded through the US. Cigarettes are still the number one killer all over the world, and I feel that marijuana may be the new exception.


As I read the lecture on food I could not help but to relate. I feel we are a product of our culture and the area we grow up in. After seeing people eat mice and spiders I could not help cringing at the thought, but that is nothing to those whom have lived in that are their whole lives. I believe that also when one is hungry they are more likely to eat a variety of items than when not as hungry. Just like in Endurance how they men where fine eating off the animals of the sea since they are mostly fishermen, and at that point in time there were not any fast food restaurants. However, when the men were running low on food they had to resort to eating dog, and that is the difference between eating for nourishment and pleasure compared to those who eat to stay alive. I once had to eat a goat, but not chopped and cooked up it almost resembled the bodied just being thrown over a fire then served. The body had such a thick layer of fat before you could even reach the meat, and the water was so filmy with particles that we drank after it was taken from a not so clean river and boiled. This change in agriculture did not settle good with my stomach at all, but it goes to prove that food is sometimes mind over matter where because you are not accustomed to certain foods you are less likely to receive them in a non-hostile way. There are millions of delicacies around the world, and the only thing I can say is try to open your pallet and try new things, but in moderation.

Yerkes-Dodson Law

     Going through the lecture notes, I found particular interest in the section of performance - mainly because I'm big on participating in various endurance events and the topic of motivation is one that typically comes up when talking with other participants, as well as a pushing internal force.

      If anyone has participated in a sporting event knows the feeling of nervousness before the initial beginning - the "butterflies", followed by an extreme focus in which nothing matters but that moment in time.  This arousal/performance relationship is known as "Yerkes-Dodson Law" which states, "as stimulation or arousal increases, performance increases, levels off, then declines." This increased arousal allows an individual to reach a point of peak performance, but if the arousal increases past that performance begins to suffer. As students, a very real application of this idea is apparent during finals - anxiety of an exam pushes you to study and remember the information but if that anxiety reaches a certain point it impairs your ability to concentrate on the material.

Thursday, July 23, 2015


Incentives was defined in our class notes as an anticipated external stimuli that motivates behavior to occur. In the book of Endurance the promise of adventure seemed to be a good incentive to go on the trip. Each man that volunteered to go on the excursion needed to way costs and benefits of going on the trip. There were many positive incentives of going on the trip. Such as, an adventure, potential fame, experiences, and a challenge. There was also many negative incentives. Such as, uncertainty, dangers, weather, and the conditions of the Antarctic seas. The crew of the Endurance were not promised safety, but they were promised an experience of a lifetime. The true story told by Alfred Lansing showed the extreme heart of twenty-eight men. They worked tirelessly together to reach the same goals. An incentive became survival. They needed to form a strong unity to survive the trials they experienced. Shackleton and his crew may have had different incentives for going on the trip. However, during the trip they developed the same incentives. The purpose of their actions became life or death situations. If they did not have the same incentive to survive they would not have lived to tell their story. The excursion was well worth it in the end for these men. They had the honor of returning with such a incredible accomplishment.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Kyle Chudzinski


Professor Berg

Today I want to talk about the forces behind the power of love, sex and relationships. It deals with both biology and social characteristics. I found this very intriguing after reading the online lecture about reproduction. This entire process still has many guessing on how it all really works. I'm sure that everyone has thought about this in one way or another. After all, everyone is seeking either for their soul mate, best friend or lifelong companion. This topic can relate to everyone and therefore that's why I find so interesting. Sexual selection is when one sex selects another member of the opposite sex for mating purposes. There is usually a trait or few that these mates find appealing about one another. Physical characteristics are a trait that usually brings the mates together. Mate value encompasses the full set of traits that bring mates together. An example of this could be that one mate finds confidence, ambition and intellect attractive about their partner. There are numerous traits that fall under the category of love. People who generally have a higher sex appeal attract mates that also have a higher sex appeal. This often leads to a passion filled relationship. I wholeheartedly agree with the good gene hypothesis. People that look healthy often give off the signal that they are stable intellectually, financially and emotionally. This often attracts people but can be misleading as well. I found it very interesting that men often seek mates that can produce more offspring and women seek mates that will increase the survivability. The whole world of mating is still in many ways a mystery today. Understanding the true intentions of each sex and what they truly want to find in life is something that continues to baffle researchers.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Endurance on Dateline

Above is a link to the Dateline documentary of Shackleton's journey. I found it interesting to listen to as reading the book allows you to create your own ideas of what happened on their journey, then this kind of gives a better explanation and solidifies their actual experiences rather than leaving it for your imagination to understand.

One thing that stuck that the documentary covered is Shackleton's attitude. During the reading, I got the vibe that Shackleton was a bitter man, torn that his trip may be defeating him. The other crew members called him names behind his back, and he was stubborn. The documentary states that they wouldn't have made it without him, which I think is only partly true. While he was the leader of the pack, and typically called all the shots, there were some poor decisions made on his part as well that led them into terrible situations, such as lack of food. The crew and Shackleton became a team. I don't think that he was the reason they made it, they each played a very important role in that journey. In situations such as there's no way to survive without team work. There was no sole person that made their mission possible, it was simply a collaboration.

Friday, July 17, 2015


While reading Endurance, I am consistently thinking of Maslow's Theory of Needs.  I have read the first two parts and it almost seems as though the crew has achieved Self Actualization, which I find absolutely incredible.

With regard to the lowest level, physiological, they have a relative decent supply of food stores and have become adept at hunting seals.  As they are stranded on an ice flow, there is a near unlimited supply of water.  The crew is also getting a reasonable amount of sleep; given their current conditions.  Therefore, the first layer is adequately met.

As for the second level; safety, this is s bit trickier as they are far from safety; and if the slightest thing goes wrong, they could be in mortal danger.  However, for the most part of the book to this point; they have seen a relative level of safety.  The ice has not caused them any harm, as the Lansing notes when Shackleton wants to make a pass at getting to land, that the crew had become comfortable on the ice floe.  Thus, one could argue that the second layer is met.

The next level, Love and Belonging, is easily met.  The crew is stranded together and are dependent on each other for survival.  They have formed friendships and have become a large family living together; packed into 5 tents.  They play pranks on each other, play games, hunt together, sledge together, eat together, sleep together.  Their ice floe has become home.

As for Esteem, the crew has been very positive through the entire ordeal (for the most part).  They all have mutual respect for each other and have confidence  in their own skills and talents, and each others, and know that they will get through this.  They have achieved so much up to this point; surviving on a drifting ice floe is not a simple task.

Given this; this expedition has made these men Self Actualized.  Although they have a language problem, they are genuinely moral, make judgement based on the facts they have and have accepted their current predicament.  But one of the significant parts of Self Actualization is the ability to think critically and problem solve.  Therefore, I believe that this adventure took a bunch of random men, brought them together, and developed their self actualization.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Stranded Post 1

After reading the first two parts of the book I came to realize that this is no different than the time when I was in the military and deployed. I was in Iraq twice and for each time it was a year gig. When your overseas you are literally put in a remote area where you have to make the best of things, and just like Shackelton and his men you must rely on the camaraderie in order to get through the ups and downs. I am very sure if it was not for my band of brothers I would have surely gone insane. At times you definitely feel like you may never see your friends from home, or family but looking back I always had my fiends and family right there to my left and right. These chapters were right up my alley meaning there are some videos floating out there somewhere of the craziest stuff we have done in our down time, and only those who have been there know what I mean.

Positive vs. Negative Reinforcement

Should we reward a child for doing something that is expected, in hopes to increase the behavior, or take something away from a child because they behavior in a poor manner? This question is at the forefront of my mind every day when I step inside the classroom. I struggle with what the correct response would be. For me, I am a 7th and 8th grade teacher in the inner city of Atlantic City. My students are not very well off, deal with shootings on a daily basis, and have to fear for their lives every time they enter the street. How am I supposed to punish them for an action they may not know any better, but at the same time should I reward them because they said please and thank you for a week? I tend to take my background and confuse what is understood and what is taught. It was understood by me as a child, I was not being rewarded for something I was expected to do. However, when their are little expectations outside of the classroom, how do you punish a child for not knowing any better?

The biggest wake up call I had of this, was last year. I was in my second year of teaching, and had an 8th grade homeroom. In January, on a Wednesday after school, I was delivered the devastating news that the child I was mentoring, was shot and killed by one of my previous students. I couldn't function, I couldn't speak, and I certainly couldn't hold any child accountable for their actions, when I couldn't think of my own. However, I had children coming to school wanting to fight the other side, wanting to scream at each other because they couldn't deal with their thoughts or emotions, and couldn't understand how their friend and classmate could kill another classmate. As a leader, I had to make the painful decision, of deciding how to explain the wrongdoings of one student while not showing favoritism, choosing a side, or lightening the emotional load. Should the child be punished for life? Should we reward other students for being there but not retaliating? Should we take the life of a 14 year old kid and throw him in jail with no hopes of redemption or do we allow redemption to happen? As a product of their environment, how do we choose the right side?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Kyle Chudzinski Site Post # 1- Self control and the constant struggle

Kyle Chudzinski



After reviewing the online lectures and watching the videos I have decided to talk about the overall idea of self control. Self Control is defined as the ability to control oneself, in particular one's emotions and desires or the expression of them in one's behavior, especially in difficult situations.When examining the lectures many different real life examples were used to define violations of self control. It's important to always ask why do people do the things they do ? This is where we get into impulse control. A very impulsive person will act quickly to do something that satisfies a mental need. In the lecture it discusses why people feel the need to eat fatty foods or smoke cigarettes. This is primarily driven very by chemical changes within parts of the brain and central nervous system. These chemical changes are the specific reasons why people have such a hard time with addictions and general impulsive behaviors. I find it really interesting that the addictions for eating fast food and smoking are so hard to shake off. The brain and its direct correlation to all human behavior is something that will always intrigue even the most bored minds.  


In the notes caffeine is noted as the most used psycho active stimulant in the world. In most instances a person can feel alert, energetic, alive, and clear-headed with the consumption of this drug. The MAD TV skit video shows a different story. The man drank a lot of coffee and was feeling manic, jittery, and anxious. This skit made me laugh, because I have a similar reaction to caffeine. It is difficult for me to concentrate, stop talking, moving, or sleep. The first time I drank caffeine it was easily understood why it is a drug. It really depends on a person's tolerance and I happen to have a low tolerance which makes me caffeine sensitive. There are many people that will say they can not survive a day without caffeine. How does your body react to caffeine?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Story of Juliane Keopcke

     "That is the end, it's all over" are the last words that 17 year old Juliana Keopcke heard form her mother right before her airplane exploded mid-flight, and right before her 2-mile free fall strapped to her air plane seat. Juliana reports that she had lost consciousness on her free fall descent, and remembers nothing of the impact - only upon coming to does she experience the deafening quite of the jungle and the soul-crushing realization that she is alone. Remarkably, Juliana suffered only a broken collar bone and some minor cuts from her free fall (and later on found out she had a ruptured ligament in her knee).

   The real-life story of Juliane is much more than her amazing survival of 2-mile free fall, the real amazement lies in her determination to live and this determination  is motivation at it's core. Just like Shackleton, Keopcke survived in an environment that pushes an individual to their breaking point and the only thing to keep them going is the will to live - to survive. Juliane faced fear-inducing scenarios while in the rainforest, ranging from alligators and piranhas to maggots festering in her infected wound (to which she poured gasoline on to kill them, and save her arm). She pushed on through until she was discovered by locals who then treated her wounds and eventually took her back to civilization where she met with her father for, what I could image to be, a very emotional reunion.

   Faced with adversity and the lowest of odds, it's truly incredible what the human species is capable of. The stories of Shackleton and Keopcke are two of many different tales of hero-like capabilities to live another day, to achieve a mighty goal, and, ultimately, to thrive.

(There are many links online that discuss Juliane's story, as well as a book. The one I used as reference is a BBC article:

Part 1 of the Expedition

From the very first chapter, I was intrigued. As Shackleton and his men were preparing for this expedition, you were really able to feel the anticipation. The years of funding, gathering a crew, and preparation had made this such a big event not only for the men, but for England as a country. The expectations for this expedition were at a high. As I was reading the beginning chapters, it almost had a Titanic vibe about the whole story. The great expedition who carried men who were expected to survive on the great Endurance. The resemblance was there and I felt the comparison while reading. When the ship got trapped in the northeast gale, the motivation to survive was put to the test for months.  I was impressed with the attitudes of the crew once the Antarctic night came. To be trapped in freezing cold temperatures, in an enclosed ship, and in darkness takes real will-power. Think about two years ago when Hurricane Sandy hit us in New Jersey. My house was out of power for 1 1/2 weeks and I felt like I was going crazy. My house was a little colder and my family was getting on each other's nerves. This is not even a fraction of the suffering that these men had to go through. The courage was astounding from the men in the book, and I am very interested to see if it lasts!

What is your limit?

As I continue to read, the question that comes to mind is, what is your limit? The men in the book are being pushed to continue on a journey where the end is not in sight. They have been knocked off course and have been about 90 miles out, only to find out they were pushed off course and went miles off track. They have gone 5 days with no sleep, and if they have caught some sleep, it was sitting up in poor conditions next to someone to hope to stay warm, they have been at the end of their ration of food causing Ordes-Lees to pass out, and they have been on the brink of death dealing with frost bite and poor circulation. As a human being, the men have overcame more than the human mind allows. How do we know what are limits are? Some people think that working 15 hours a day is their limit, some go sky diving and are risk takers, others see every doctor possible, but when put into a situation with no foreseeable outcome, how far would you allow yourself to go? Could you sit on a floe, and watch as it breaks beneath you? Could you travel on a ship that has below freezing temperatures? I'm guilty as a person, to think I'm loosing my mind walking to my car at 5am in the winter months, shivering as though I won't make it. I couldn't imagine being stuck on a boat in the ocean for 497 days without seeing land. How do you convince your mind that your body is more capable than what you think? The men seem to be conquering fears, will their ever be a point they stop?

Monday, July 13, 2015


I'll say that I wasn't sure how to interpret the book as I began reading it. I have a hard time reading things that I haven't chosen myself, so I was hesitant to know how I would get through it. However, after finding out that Shackleton and his crew would be taking such intense journey, I was more intrigued. I think something important to point out is that a journey such as theirs requires such an immense amount of motivation. All of these men on the ship knew what they would be getting themselves into going on this adventure together, and they must have known it would absolutely not be an easy task. I think it takes great courage to make the conscious choice to be willing to take such a long trip, in such cruel conditions, knowing that there would be a chance of running out of food, and potentially never returning. That being said, I think that all things require motivation. We must be motivated to do things in life, we need interest to maintain motivation as well.


It is amazing how these men in the book work together to survive. Everything seems to be done efficiently with immense effort. It is not to say that there was not some discouragement in some of the men. But, overall Shackleton and his crew seemed to do the impossible. As the time went on the crew continued to work well together showing the strength of their unity. The motivation was survival. This book shows that every person on the boat is needed to contribute in order for survival.  This type of unity can be shown in everyday life. Many careers and activities emphasize the importance of a team effort. Another example of team unity is the military, in life or death situations the proud members of the military rely on each other to survive. In any career it is important to learn how to work well with your colleagues for things to go smoothly. Sports teams need a team effort to reach their goals of winning.  Shackleton and his crew provide an excellent example of what working together efficiently  can accomplish.

Destination or Journey?

As I began to read the book, I wondered how a person has the inner strength to go on a journey that the outcome is uncertain. Shackleton's journey puts him and his crew in a situation where they might not make it out. Not only not make it out, but they are stuck living on ice, carrying only what is needed, and killing animals for food. They are stuck in remote areas, having to find entertainment, and not be annoyed with the same people all day every day while still worrying that at any moment they might have a to make a drastic move that could kill them. They are continuously stopped with climate changes and uncertain wind directions. The question that arises most in my head is: What is more important the destination or the journey? I ponder this, because if given the opportunity to ask Shackleton an his crew, I wonder how many would say the making it to the destination or the journey. For example, would Macklin be able to say that the journey was more important, while he had to kill his crew of dogs or make numerous trips back to camp, or ration his food so the crew could survive. Or would, Ordes-Lees say the destination was more important because he made it and was alive, and could put the fear of starvation behind him. Or would Blackboro, regret his decision and say neither, because he snuck on the boat and shouldn't even be there to begin with. Every person is different with their outlook on life, different circumstances, different decisions, and different morals. However, what is more important to you, the destination or the journey?

Thursday, July 9, 2015


    When I began reading this book, I was immediately hooked. I love to read adventure/survival stories because they remind me so much of my military service. In survival situations a person never knows what he/she is capable of until their life is on the line.  I was an Infantryman and served for 8 years with 2 tours to Iraq. When I think about my deployments then compare them to the book, I am surprised at how similar and dissimilar my life was. Granted I went through some "event" that changed me forever, but never was I in a horrific situation like Captain Shackleton and his crew. I never had to eat dog or rub blubber over my body to stay warm, but I did have to use baby wipes to shower with because we didn't have running water for 3 months. I can understand the struggle those men went through, and I think it is a great reminder that not only Veterans can be heroes but everyday people can be as well.