I Wasn’t Very Proud of My Feelings – Sir Edmund Hillary

“It is not the mountains we conquer but ourselves.” Sir Edmund Hillary

On May 29, 1953 Sir Edmund Hillary conquered Mount Everest with his Sherpa friend and guide, Tenzin Norgay.

As a result he was knighted. In 1985 he was made New Zealand’s highest commissioner to India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. In 1995 he received the British Order of the Garter (membership of which is limited to just twenty-four individuals).

In 1992 the image of Sir Edmund Hillary (July 20, 1919 – January 11, 2008) replaced the image of Queen Elizabeth II on New Zealand’s 5 Dollar Note.

You might be surprised to learn that Hillary was most proud of the Himalayan Trust he started which has built 30 schools, two hospitals, and 12 medical clinics in Nepal’s Khumbu region. (siredmundhillary.com)


In an NPR interview, Hillary admitted that he wasn’t sure whether he really wanted his climbing friends, Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans, to make it to the top first.

It ended up that they had to turn back 300 feet short of the summit. Two days later Hillary and his Sherpa stood on top of the world.

“I wasn’t very proud of my feelings,” Hillary admitted. (NPR)

4 truths about humility:

#1. The acknowledgement of arrogance is an expression of humility.

Arrogance is so deeply ingrained in me that it’s hard to imagine others don’t grapple with the beast.

#2. Humility wants others to succeed. Arrogance doesn’t want others to outshine it.

You might believe that wanting to out-do your friends is a good thing. But Hillary wasn’t proud of his hope that Tom and Charles didn’t reach the summit first.

#3. Humility isn’t playing dead.

Hillary didn’t stop climbing when his friends stopped. He pressed on.

Arrogance puts others down. Humility does its best.

#4. Humility uses personal success to enhance the lives of others.

Today’s leadership project: Show up to help others win.

How might you practice humility today?