Sir Edmund Hillary passed away yesterday at the age of 88 years old. In my opinion Hillary's greatness did not come from being the first to reach the top of Mt Everest. His greatness wasn't defined by being the first man to lead a mechanized expedition to the South Pole. His greatness is defined by his willingness to try. He stood up and said "I will strive for the untouchable." The attempt to do the impossible is great all by itself.
In addition to being perhaps the greatest adventurer of the 20th century Hillary was supremely generous. His founding of the Sherpa Trust in the 1960's changed Himalayan life. Hillary worked tirelessly for the Sherpa community, building schools and hospitals. His will to give back to the world was as great as his desire to experience what few men have.
Teddy Roosevelt once said, “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Sir Edmund Hillary personified the man in the arena. He knew the triumph of high achievement and in the attempt as much as the achievement inspired the world for generations.
No 1 of Consequence