This is the attitude that drives change

Sometimes I receive e-mails that are ready-made blog posts, whether they mean to be or not.  Thanks Grant for sending me this one entirely post ready.


Hi April,

I heard a radio spot about Sir Edmund Hillary a few weeks ago celebrating his birthday.  He was discussing his summit of Everest.  In the interview he stated the following:

You know we had this psychological barrier,” Sir Edmund Hillary, now 83, recalls. “We didn’t know if it was humanly possible for a human being to set foot on top of Everest, even using oxygen. All the physiologists had warned us that it might be impossible. So my feeling was we were going to give it all we had and if everything went well, maybe we’d get to the top…While standing on top of Everest, I looked across the valley, towards the other great peak, Makalu, and mentally worked out a route about how it could be climbed… it showed me that, even though I was standing on top of the world, it wasn’t the end of everything for me, by any means. I was still looking beyond to other interesting challenges.”

My immediately thought was…this is the attitude that drives change.   My interest was piqued and thus I read a few other interviews.  From that I extracted a couple other good related quotes.

Interviewer: Was there any point when you felt that you might not make it and might have to give up?

Sir Edmund Hillary: “Never, at any stage, until we actually got up the rock step, was I confident that we were going to be successful. My feeling was that we would give it everything we had, but we had no surety that we were going to reach the top. In fact, I believe that if someone starts out on a challenging activity, completely confident that they’re going to succeed, why bother starting? It’s not much of a challenge. I think it’s much better to start out on something that you’re not at all sure that you can do. If you overcome and you manage to defeat the obstacles, the satisfaction is so much greater. “

You don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things — to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals. The intense effort, the giving of everything you’ve got, is a very pleasant bonus. “

I thought, this would make a good blog post and considered trying to tie them together into a story.  As I read over them again, it occurred to me, the quotes speak for themselves better than anything I could add.

I thought you might appreciate them too…enjoy!


I did appreciate them, and I bet everyone else will too.


Foreword to Peak Performance : Business Lessons from the World’s Top Sports Organizations (2000) by Clive Gibson, Mike Pratt, Kevin Roberts and Ed Weymes

As quoted in 1000 Brilliant Achievement Quotes (2004) by David Deford, p. 4

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