In honor of beekeeper turned pioneer adventurer Sir Edmund Hillary, today's blog is an excerpt from Joe Jordan's forthcoming book Wireframe: Creating the Structure for Enduring Success. Used by permission.
As the sun rose over cities and towns across England the morning of June 3, 1953, two stories captured the attention of the citizens of Britain. The dominating news that day told about two dramatic achievements, two individuals reaching the pinnacle of their lives, two events that many believed would restore hope, opportunity, even a sense of destiny to a country that had struggled to reshape its vision and regain its energy following World War II.
One story captured the breathtaking pageantry, storybook wonder, and edge-of-your-chair excitement of the June 2 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Only 27 years old, Elizabeth's ascension to the throne was broadcast by radio around the world, and at the Queen's request, beamed to thousands of people by television. Although she had prepared for this day since she was age ten, Elizabeth's ultimate right to the throne was because of her name, her birthright, and life's timing--the death of her father, King George VI.
As the citizens of London lined up to honor their new Queen, news of another event passed through the crowds. This ascent had taken place on May 29, half-way around the globe. The second story didn't involve dukes, duchesses, princesses, and kings. The players on this remote stage were a rangy New Zealander named Edmund Hillary and a Tibetan Sherpa named Tenzing Norgay. As the people held their breath at the coronation of a new Queen, Hillary and Norgay caught their breath after scaling the last forty feet of the world's tallest mountain. Standing at the 29,028 foot summit of Mt. Everest, these two mountaineers likely felt as much exhaustion as exuberance.
Your journey through life's challenges is probably a lot more like Edmund's trek up Everest than Elizabeth's path to the throne. For most people, success isn't about rights we have because of a name; accomplishment is about opportunities we embrace because of God's providence and our effort. Sir Edmund Hillary expressed it clearly when he said, "You don't have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things. . . You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals."
If you're breathing, you have problems--situations where what you expected and what you've achieved aren't in line. The concepts and tools of effective critical thinking are wielded more successfully when they are used by someone who is motivated, energized, and committed to results. Hillary's path to achievement wasn't easy--but it was absolutely exhilarating.