If Your Face Was on Money

Imagine having your face on money while you’re still alive.

That’s what happened to Sir Edmund Hillary many years after being the first man along with his Sherpa Tenzin Norgay to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

Sir Edmund became New Zealand’s most famous person. I found the following story in the book Humilitas by John Dickson.

A photograph:

“On one of his many trips back to the Himalayas he (Sir Edmund) was spotted by a group of tourist climbers. They begged for a photo with the great man, and Hillary obliged.

They handed him an ice pick so he would look the part and set up for the photograph. Just then another climber passed the group and, not recognizing the man at the centre, strode up to Hillary saying, “Excuse me, that’s not how you hold an ice pick. Let me show you.”

Everyone stood around in amazed silence as Hillary thanked the man, let him adjust the pick, and happily went on with the photograph.”

It doesn’t matter how experienced that other climber was; his greatness was diminished by this intrusive presumption. We are repelled by pride. Edmund Hillary’s greatness, however, is somehow enhanced by this humility.”

4 humble observations:

#1. Humility serves.

Sir Edmund, or Ed as he referred to himself, wasn’t obligated to serve the people of the Himalayas but he did.

Humility concerns itself with the advantage of others.

#2. Humility treats ‘lessers’ with respect.

All organizations are like a chicken coop with a pecking order.

Our interest in developing flat organizations only validates our tendency toward stratification.

How do you treat people who can’t advantage you? How do you treat servers in restaurants, flight attendants, secretaries and receptionists?

#3. Humility lets others shine.

#4. “Humility is beautiful.” John Dickson

How is humility developed?

How might humility be measured? (Seems like an odd question to me.)