The main difference between a successful person and a failure is simply this: the successful person just kept on trying. Sir Edmund Hillary is living proof of this. You may remember that he and his Nepalese guide were the very first men to, literally, stand on top of the world.

It was 11.30 in the morning, on May 29th 1953, when Edmund Hillary and the Nepalese Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay eventually placed the British flag on top of Mount Everest, which at 29,028 feet (8848 metres) above sea level, is the highest point on earth.

Hillary had been on Mount Everest in 1951 and again in 1952, both times in a serious attempt to reach the summit. Unfortunately, both attempts were unsuccessful but his exploits did bring him to the attention of the Royal Geographic Society and the Alpine Club of Great Britain. After they had agreed to sponsor him for a third attempt in 1953, Hillary made an emotional address to their members. It’s reported that he was welcomed on to the stage by a thunderous applause as the audience recognised his previous efforts. Hillary was overcome; he moved away from the microphone and turned towards a picture of Everest. Then he made a defiant fist and as he pointed to the mountain he said in a loud voice, “You beat me once, you beat me twice, but, Mount Everest, you will not beat me again, because you have grown all you are going to do, but I am still growing!” – Edmund Hillary succeeded on that third attempt. He was a failure who kept on trying.

R. Ian Seymour

R. Ian Seymour, excerpt from Discover Your True Potential