Survival Tip #4: Develop A Victor, Not A Victim, Mindset

Survival Tip #4: Develop A Victor, Not A Victim, Mindset

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
–Romans 8:37

The ship was doomed. Everybody knew it, but there was nothing they could do about it. The vessel had sailed twelve thousand miles from England and then pushed through packed ice for more than a thousand more miles, but now it was entombed in Antarctic ice less than a hundred miles from its intended destination. As the crew eventually watched the sides of their ship cave in and heard the timbers snap, the men became resigned to what they believed was their inevitable fate: death, either by exposure, starvation, or drowning. But their leader had a different mindset.

If there is one thing that was true about Ernest Shackleton, it was that he was an optimist. He set his sights on being the first man to cross Antarctica on foot. It took two years of asking, pleading and lobbying before Shackleton finally raised enough money to supply his expedition and purchased the arctic vessel Polaris, which he rechristened Endurance after his family’s motto, “by endurance we conquer.” With a crew of twenty-seven adventurers, the Endurance sailed from Plymouth, England in August 1914. By January of the following year, the ship was ice-bound; eventually, it was crushed by the ice and sank. The crew braved six months on the ice, until it thinned enough for them to set out in lifeboats toward Elephant Island. They arrived seven days later, frostbitten and exhausted. But they were still far from civilization. To rescue his crew from exposure, starvation, and certain death, Shackleton and a small crew boarded a lifeboat and sailed eight hundred miles to South Georgia Island, where there was a whaling station with supplies. The journey took seventeen days, and they landed under hurricane conditions. However, the whaling station was on the other side of the island. So the men traversed thirty-six hours without rest over glacier-covered peaks to reach the whaling station. It took another four months before Shackleton finally rescued his stranded men on Elephant Island. Although Shackleton did not succeed in his mission to cross Antarctica on foot, he did save the lives of all twenty-seven crew members. He realized an important truth: our attitude is key to our survival when faced with a threatening situation.

Shackleton had a vocabulary that did not have room for words like quit, give up, fail, or surrender. No, he had developed the attitude of a victor rather than a victim–just like the apostle Paul, who said in Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who is against us?” For the past few weeks, we have been looking at the ten survival tips that allow us not only to survive, but to thrive in this hostile environment we are living in. This week we are going to look at the fourth survival tip: develop a victor, rather than a victim, mindset. That is the mindset Shackleton had that allowed him to survive in one of the most hostile environments on earth, and it is the mindset we all need as well.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Survival Tip #4: Develop A Victor, Not A Victim, Mindset” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.

Caroline Alexander, “The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition” (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998); “Shackleton’s Voyage Of Endurance,” NOVA Online, February 2002,

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.