Colin O’Brady, who recently became the first person to cross Antarctica alone, says that he relied on simple mantras to carry him through his courageous journey.
Speaking with Business Insider, O’Brady shared what he told himself every day to push through the brutal 54-day journey.
"You're strong, you're capable," O’Brady said, and "This too shall change. This too shall pass,” provided the motivation and focus for the adventurer to persevere.
O’Brady shared how the journey was the longest amount of time he has ever spent alone. He would tell himself: "It will be sunny again at some point. The wind will calm down," as well as, "As long as I keep putting that one foot in front of the other, keep trying to make progress," to stay focused.
"Hopefully, I can make it to the other end,” was another. O’Brady is now the first person to complete the solo mission - no one before him has completed it nor survived the journey.
Business Insider reports on the significant impact of such mantras. A 2018 study that focused on emergency room workers in Ireland found that after just “four four-hour-long mantra meditation sessions, those doctors and nurses improved their focus at work and felt calmer with their colleagues. Some even slept better after their trainings.”
Unaided by anything other than skis and his 375 pounds of supplies, O’Brady became the first person to traverse 932 miles across the Antarctic continent on his own on December 26, finishing an astonishing 16 days ahead of schedule.
Of course, it wasn’t just the power of positive thinking that helped O’Brady through his trek. He said he engaged in intense training - both mental and physical - prior to his attempt, including adding 20 pounds of muscle mass, and participating in vipassana meditation retreats.
"Completely free, highly recommend," he said of the retreats.
O’Brady’s massive achievement comes just 8 years after he suffered major burn injuries to his legs, after which doctors said he may never be able to walk again. The determined man went on to become a successful triathlete before turning his attention to mountain climbing and exploring.
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Day 54: FINISH LINE!!! I did it! The Impossible First ✅. 32 hours and 30 minutes after leaving my last camp early Christmas morning, I covered the remaining ~80 miles in one continuous “Antarctica Ultramarathon” push to the finish line. The wooden post in the background of this picture marks the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf, where Antarctica’s land mass ends and the sea ice begins. As I pulled my sled over this invisible line, I accomplished my goal: to become the first person in history to traverse the continent of Antarctica coast to coast solo, unsupported and unaided. While the last 32 hours were some of the most challenging hours of my life, they have quite honestly been some of the best moments I have ever experienced. I was locked in a deep flow state the entire time, equally focused on the end goal, while allowing my mind to recount the profound lessons of this journey. I’m delirious writing this as I haven’t slept yet. There is so much to process and integrate and there will be many more posts to acknowledge the incredible group of people who supported this project. But for now, I want to simply recognize my #1 who I, of course, called immediately upon finishing. I burst into tears making this call. I was never alone out there. @jennabesaw you walked every step with me and guided me with your courage and strength. WE DID IT!! We turned our dream into reality and proved that The Impossible First is indeed possible. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” - Nelson Mandela. #TheImpossibleFirst #BePossible
"Proving to myself that I can finish that is something that I will carry with me throughout my entire life," he said.
Do you use mantras to help yourself through difficult situations? Share in the comments!