Horace and Adversity Essay

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"The boy who is going to make a great man must not make up his mind merely to overcome a thousand obstacles, but to win in spite of a thousand repulses and defeats." The meaning behind Theodore Roosevelt’s quote is to not only overcome adversity, but win while doing so. One can’t just have the tools to be great, they have to use them. Those that use these tools are the ones that truly achieve greatness. The Roman poet Horace explained that “adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant.” Most everyone knows the difference between right and wrong, and when one is not in a situation that immediately demands such a decision it seems easy to make the right choice. To actually do the right thing, when the time calls for it, is a much more difficult. Basically Roosevelt is trying to say that one can win a million times, but if one defeat can cause them to never try again, then the past million times mean nothing. To rise after falling 1000 times and then winning, that is truly overcoming adversity and achieving greatness.

Situations where humans are put under extreme pressure are those that show a person’s true character. In 1988, Andrew Wright, a cave diver and explorer, had been in Nullarbor Plain on the Great Australian Blight Coast for about a month. Wright and his team of 14 explorers were hauling up equipment when a freak storm hit the cave. The storm dumped 400mm of water on the plain in 25 minutes. An estimated 300 million liters of water filled the cave in minutes, collapsing the cave entrance and forcing all but two to remain trapped underground. Wright was one of the two that escaped from the cave. He and the other lucky explorer worked for hours using radios and communicating with the underground team. He would try to find a new passageway to enter and exit the cave, and those underground would do the same until they met in the middle. Everyone was returned to safety and lived to...
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