Well-known commentator and author Eric Sevarid said that the best lesson he ever learned was the principle of the “next mile.” He recalled how he learned the principle:
“During World War II, I and several others had to parachute from a crippled Army transport plane into the mountainous jungle on the Burma-India border. It was several weeks before an armed relief expedition could reach us, and then we began a painful, plodding march out to civilized India. We were faced by a 140-mile trek, over mountains in August heat and monsoon rains.
“In the first hour of the march I rammed a boot nail deep into one foot; by evening I had bleeding blisters the size of 50-cent pieces on both feet. Could I hobble 140 miles? Could the others, some in worse shape than I, complete such a distance'
“We were convinced we could not. But we could hobble to that ridge, we could make the next friendly village for the night. And that, of course, was all we had to do...”
Eric Sevarid used the “next mile” principle many other times during his career, whether the task was writing a book or writing scripts for radio and television.