THE DIFFERENCE ONE LIFE CAN MAKE
“THE TRAILBLAZER WHO REACHED THE SUMMIT OF MOUNT EVEREST”
“It’s not the mountain we conquer but ourselves”
-SIR EDMUND HILLARY
Scaling heights is a scary adventure and it is for the daring, the visionary and those who are committed to living their dreams rather than their fears.
Let’s travel through memory lane and let Sir Edmund Hillary teach us how to stretch our potentials and reach the summit of our dreams.
Edmund Percival Hillary was born on July 20, 1919, in Auckland, New Zealand. As a child, Edmund habitually walked barefoot to school irrespective of the weather. He had a harsh family life, his parents who were farmers and beekeepers believed that every physical disorder was caused by overeating and the solution was dieting, Edmund’s teachers did not spare to tell him bluntly that he was physically unfit, thin, weak, and too often sick. He loved reading adventure stories often at the rate of a book a day.
“I MUST CLIMB SOMETHING”
At the age of sixteen, Edmund went skiing for the first time. He discovered that he fell in love by the sight of snow and upon eavesdropping on a conversation by a group of mountain climbers he made a committed decision as he returned from the trip and said to himself, ”I must climb something”.
THE TRAINING CHALLENGE
From that point onward he began to spend all of his free time hiking, jogging, and climbing mountains. He experienced physical hurts as he trained himself to master mountain climbing; he broke three ribs in one fall, was gored by a frightened yak during another climb and suffered infected leech bites, massive blisters, and frozen nose drips on various climbing.
Edmund Hillary girded himself with the will, determination and discipline to face and master all of his major mountain climbing goals he set for himself. In 1952, He set a significant goal that elevated him to relevance in the world-the goal to climb Mount Everest.
THE ORDEAL OF CLIMBING MOUNT EVEREST
According to scientists, Mount Everest which is the world’s highest peak has a towering height of 29, 035 feet (8,850 meters) above sea level. This could be converted to 51/2 miles, 17 times taller than the tallest skyscraper in the world. The air at the peak of Mount Everest is very thin which makes it hard to breathe up there and oxygen masks are required. The thin air can cause sickness even on the lower slopes of the mountain. The weather around Mount Everest is among the harshest on earth which makes climbing the mountain a tough one. The top is covered with a thick layer of ice and is characterized by deadly winds, waist deep snow; bitter cold, sudden avalanche, and limited visibility. The temperature there never exceeds freezing. In the summer, violent storms batter the mountain. Winds reach speeds of 177 miles per hour (285km per hour). In winter, the temperature can drop to -760 Fahrenheit (-600 Celsius).
However, Edmund Hilary was quite acquainted with harsh conditions due to his past experiences in mastering heights.
A SETBACK TO REACH THE ULTIMUM MOUNTAIN CHALLENGE
In 1952, Edmund Hillary experienced a failed attempt in successfully climbing the Mount Everest to its peak. However, defeat is not final but quitting is fatal. I’m in love with Edmund’s remarkable statement after his defeat, “Mount Everest, you have defeated me. But I will return and I will defeat you because you can’t get any bigger than I am.”
A COMEBACK OF VICTORY
On May 29, 1953, at 11:30 am, history was made; the “impossibility” record was broken and a new world record of possibility was set by Sir Edmund Hillary who reached the summit of Mount Everest a few seconds before his Sherpa guide, Tenzing Norgay did. The duo spent 15 minutes at the top of the world celebrating in triumph; Hillary buried a crucifix at the summit of Mount Everest.
FAME-THE RISE TO THE RESPONSIBILITY OF INFLUENCE
Edmund Hillary was astonished that his climb brought him celebrity status. He still perceived himself as a beekeeper carrying on his parents business. His foremost response to fame was to buy a new pair of pants to wear in public.
Edmund Hillary braced up and rose up to the responsibility of the opportunity to influence people all around the world due to his fame as he was frequently invited to give lectures around the world and he discovered that he enjoyed this new challenge.
He took up exploration and accomplished several expedition feats. In 1985, Edmund and Astronaut Neil Armstrong flew a small twin-engine plane to the North Pole, making Hillary the first to stand at both poles and the summit of Everest also known as the “third pole”.
He became the author of several books. Through his expeditions and books, he inspired humanity to take physical risks and attempt great challenges.
DEATH AND LEGACY
Sir Edmund Hillary died on January 11, 2008, in Auckland. He was regarded as “New Zealand’s most trusted individual.” Despite all his success and fame as an adventurer; Hillary was always described as a humble man. He suffered a tragic loss when his wife and youngest daughter were killed in a plane crash in 1975. Hillary turned his loss into a gain by devoting his life to working in hospitals and helping build schools and bridges to improve the lives of the Himalayan people. He founded the Himalayan Trust, which built schools, hospitals, and transportation hubs in Nepal. He served as New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Nepal, as well as India and Bangladesh, from 1985-1988, and was made an honorary citizen of Nepal in 2003, on the 50th anniversary of reaching the summit. Various geographical regions bear Hillary’s name, and the New Zealand five dollar note features his image.
Time magazine listed him as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.
LIFE’S LESSONS TO LIVE BY:
- Let the words that proceed from your mouth count up to something; never let your words countdown to nothing. In other words, let your words build people up by magnifying their strengths rather than magnifying their weaknesses and tearing down their self-image in the process. And when you want to speak the truth (in regards to their weaknesses), speak the truth in love by giving people something to live up to. Edmunds teachers never did encourage him with their words.
- Be an active participant in the game of life. Never live life passively. Get actively involved in life; shut out the negative and distracting voices within and without; listen to the still small voice within; follow your heart; get out of your comfort zone and try something new. When you get active in life you will discover what you were made to do what you love to do. Therein is your Power-to influence your world for good.
- The defining moments of your life are the critical decisions you make with what you want to do with your life and the commitment to stay at it until you win at it. Edmund Hillary said, “I must climb something,” that was his defining moment and that critical decision backed up with an unwavering commitment shaped the course of his destiny.
- The responsibility to make life happen or the irresponsibility to let life happen lies in your hands. Great destinies are made to happen; it is not wishful thinking or by being lucky. You will never reach the summit of “Mount Everest” when you were strolling in the park. To enjoy the thrills of accomplishments you must endure the training in discipline and sacrifice. The greater your dreams, the greater will be the price you have to pay. You can’t maximize your destiny until you maximize your time. What you do with your “free” time will determine the outcome of your destiny.
- You can never win the game of life without goals. You must set goals with a deadline of what you want to accomplish. Your goals must be big enough to inspire you to stretch your potentials in order to accomplish it and as you reach them you increase your capacity and you set higher ones. As long as you live, you keep on having consistent goals that will stretch you and make you to continually grow to accomplish them. That’s the way to maximize potentials.
- Failure is a feedback mechanism which offers an opportunity to learn and grow into engaging in actions that produce success. Never perceive defeat as personal or as a permanent situation rather learn from it and grow bigger through it and succeed massively.
- Until you are climbing something in life, you will fall for anything. Until you are a problem solver, you cannot climb to the top. When you are a problem-avoider, you avoid your place at the top. Until you learn to think through the problem, you will be unable to rise above the problem. Until you are able to learn from the problem, you will be unable to grow through the problem.
- Until you possess the champion mentality, you will never be able to “kill” the giants on the pathway of destiny. Until you maximize your scars, you can’t emerge a star. Until you grow through your mess or weakness, your life can’t become an inspiring message.
- Never possess the “I have arrived” mentality. Never rest your laurels and plateau your destiny. Never cease growing yourself and never stop releasing potentials as long as you live.
- Character development should not be forfeited for image building. Edmund Hillary was regarded as “New Zealand’s most trusted individual”, he possessed primary greatness of character as a foundation for his secondary greatness of recognized talents and abilities.
- Always turn your losses into gain; turn the bitter experiences of life into better experiences for others. When Hillary’s wife and youngest daughter died in an airplane crash instead of him becoming bitter and focusing on his loss, he devoted his life to a greater cause than climbing mountains; he devoted his life to helping people in practical ways-investing in people is the greatest investment you will ever make through life.
- True greatness springs from humility. Despite accomplishing extraordinary feats and the fame that accompanies it, Edmund Hillary remained humble. One of the amazing things I have discovered is that most of the truly great people in the world never set out to be famous but rather they set out with the motive to become valuable and to make a difference in life and they ended up becoming famous.
“When you go to the mountains, you see them and you admire them. I think I mainly climb mountains because I get a great deal of enjoyment out of it. I think it all comes down to motivation.”
“People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things”
-Sir Edmund Hillary.