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Lions Roar : July 2019
“I am strong, I am capable” was another mantra I said to myself. It’s not something I really recited previous to this, but I was struggling early on in the project with my sled being 375 pounds. I would wake up in the morning and I would lie in my sleeping bag and tell myself, “You are strong, you are capable.” It gave me the burst of energy I needed to start the day. Was it ever difficult to keep your mind calm, let alone sane? I mentioned there was another guy crossing Ant- arctica. I passed him on the sixth day and never saw him again. He finished a few days after me, but knowing he was out there motivated me. Around day twenty-five, I remember second- guessing if he was real. Had my mind created him to motivate myself? I spent a whole afternoon thinking about whether he was a manifestation. Eventually, I decided that it didn’t matter whether there was another person or not. I was implicitly more moti- vated because of that belief. This made me realize that our minds can manifest a lot of things. We are the stories we tell ourselves, which is why I think a mantra like “you are strong, you are capable” is really powerful. It was invaluable to me. What we think about ourselves has a huge impact on what actually happens to us. ♦ could do this. When I arrived at the finish line, after 930 miles, I was days ahead of schedule. I burst into tears. It was one of the most powerful and profound moments of my life. Are you a religious person? I wouldn’t call myself religious, but while I was in Antarctica, I never felt alone. I felt connected to humanity as a whole. Almost every day for a minute or two, I would stand with my arms outstretched receiving positive energy from the world. I’d take it in and then send it back out. There was another explorer who was out there at the same time, effectively racing me to be the first person across Antarctica, which caused a lot of ten- sion between us. Instead of being angry about that, I sent him love and gratitude. While you were out there, were there any phrases or man- tras that motivated you? “This too shall pass” is obviously not something that I came up with, but I think that’s been with me for awhile. After the fire, my mother came into my hospi- tal room and said, “You have a whole life ahead of you. You’re not always going to be in this room.” Her words made me realize how temporary that moment was. Above : O’Brady trained for months to lug his 375-pound sled across Antartica. He consumed around 7,000 calories each day to ensure he had enough energy for the trek. LION’S ROAR | JULY 2019 57