Sir Edmund Hillary was a New Zealand mountaineer and explorer. On May 29, 1953, at the age of 33, he and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers known to have reached the summit of Mount Everest. As part of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition he reached the South Pole overland in 1958. He would later also travel to the North Pole.
It is interesting to note that in light of this ascent, all the photos that existed of the mountaineers on the top showed only Tenzing. When asked why there were no photos featuring Hillary, Sir Edmund replied, "Tenzing did not know how to operate the camera and the top of Everest was no place to start teaching him how to use it." Hillary and Tenzing remained friends throughout their lives. It’s a good thing Sir Edmund did not have to prove he was on the top of the mountain.
In 1998, on July 20th, I was heading for Anchorage to do some training and was quite surprised when the flight attendant said we had a celebrity on board who was having a birthday. Of course I looked around for Madonna and then a tall elderly slender man stood up and was announced as Sir Edmund Hillary. I lined up to shake hands with him, which I did, but of course I didn’t have my camera. How could I have known?
Which leads me to why I wrote this. Why do people climb mountains or do anything like that?
Why excel? Why not just be comfortable and let others break their necks?
Why? Because life comes just once, just this time (or so we think), and I know you know that but how much time do you spend thinking about things and not doing them?
I had a call from a friend of mine, asking if I thought she should go out with so-and-so and what would people think and should she share that with so-and-so? She has known the man for about 40 years. I think that passes the statue of limitations, doesn’t it? All names have been hidden to protect the innocent if there are any. So I suggested she get on the plane, meet him in Paris and have a great time and don’t share it with anyone. I mean, who really cares?
We make everyone else in charge of our happiness except ourselves. That’s why I wrote my little book, "Even Goldfish Get Measles," which talks about how we focus so much on our unhappiness. It will soon be available on this site for you to read. Just know: I’m no different than anyone. I worry plenty about what I think others are thinking. The thing is, most of us are way too self-absorbed to worry about anyone other than ourselves.
The Beatles wrote a song called "Happiness is a Warm Gun." Of course this is open to all kinds of interpretation. Maybe a gun is warm after it is fired–happiness (release) is achieved when you escape misery. Or perhaps the song describes a state of grief in which one is willing to take drastic measures in order to alleviate the condition. But why be miserable even if you have a good reason?
So what is happiness? Does it mean getting ahead of the Jones or being the Jones? Some of the research on happiness has shown that though more money above a certain level does not correlate much with more happiness, having more money than your neighbor does. After the “R” thing is over, we might not have many rich people. They are saying that happiness will look very different.
Pam Danziger, from Unity Marketing, predicts that even when the recession is ended and the luxury market comes back, it won't be the same as it was before this crisis. Changes are taking place among luxury consumers that will require new strategies and new approaches for luxury marketers post-recession. She says, "The luxury consumer market is shifting away from conspicuous consumption where 'he who dies with the most toys wins' to a new enlightened mindset of caring and sharing and where enhancing the quality of life is the goal. After 10-20 years of an extended spending spree, the luxury consumers have discovered that the pursuit of material wealth isn't the answer." A new and different kind of happiness! If you envy your neighbor, you will begin to hate him — but who will shovel your walk when it gets really snowy around here or pick up your newspaper and throw it on your porch before it gets rained on? Your neigbor might start curbing his dog on your flower bed; happens a lot where I live!
If you feel envy, it sort of implies you can’t get out of your own way and get what you want. Bad excuse for not living up to your own potential. Being envious separates you from yourself and whatever life force you might have. It also means the rest of the world (here it comes again) is in charge of your life.
Okay so we are all human and sometimes we have strong feelings about what we don’t have. How about some strong feelings about what you do have. There are lots of people who have lost lots; if that’s not you, rejoice.
When I start getting into negative mentality I think of those sherpas who help others achieve their dreams, never requesting acknowledgment or glory in return, but without whom most people would probably fail on their journey. I think of those sherpas in my life, helping me move along and not asking for anything in return. How about you? Are there any sherpas in your life?