George Mallory was the famed mountain climber who may have been the first person ever to reach the top of Mount Everest. In the early 1920’s he led a number of attempts to scale the mountain, eventually being killed in the third attempt in 1924. Before that last and fatal attempt he had said “I can’t see myself coming down defeated.”
Mallory was an extraordinary climber, and nothing would force him to give up. His body was found in 1999, well preserved by the snow and ice, 27,000 feet up the mountain, just 2000 feet from the peak. Give up he did not. His body was found face down on a rocky slope, head toward the summit. His arms were extended high over his head. His toes were pointed into the mountain; his fingers dug into the loose rock, refusing to let go even as he drew his last breath. A short length of cotton rope – broken – was looped around his waist.
When those who had set up camp for Mallory further down the mountain returned to England a banquet was held for them. A huge picture of Mt Everest stood behind the banquet table. It is said that the leader of the group stood to be applauded, and with tears streaming down his face, turned and looked at the picture. “I speak to you, Mt Everest, in the name of all brave men living and those yet unborn” he said. “Mt Everest, you defeated us once; you defeated us twice; you defeated us three times. But Mt Everest, we shall someday defeat you, because you can’t get any bigger but we can.”
In 1953 two climbers, Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzig Norgay, reached the top.
Source: Information reported in Seattle Times (Jan 16, 2000) and Illustrations Unlimited
The pyramids of the Giza Plateau are possibly the most famous structures in the world. The pyramids had great social meaning when they were built. Much more than just royal tombs, they represented the dignity and power of kings. So building a pyramid was a national project involving the entire country. Every household in Egypt sent workers, grain, and food to contribute to this project, which enabled the king to become a god in the afterlife.
The final step in the building program was to place a capstone encased in gold on top of the pyramid. The capstone signified that the monumental project was finally finished, and it was a time for dancing and singing as the entire nation celebrated completion of the national project.
In this sense, it was the pyramids that built Egypt rather than the other way around. The pyramids unified the nation in the service of one great and monumental achievement.
We can learn from this experience. Unity derives from a shared vision and common purpose. Just as there were great differences among all those Egyptian workers so there may be great differences among us. However, when we focus on a common task and goal the unity and the achievements of unity can be great.
Source: information from “Egypt Revealed” magazine.
An eight-year-old boy approached an old man in front of a wishing well, looked up into his eyes, and asked:
“I understand you’re a very wise man. I’d like to know the secret of life.”
The old man looked down at the youngster and replied:
“I’ve thought a lot in my lifetime, and the secret can be summed up in four words
The first is think. Think about the values you wish to live your life by.
The second is believe. Believe in yourself based on the thinking you’ve done about the values you’re going to live your life by.
The third is dream. Dream about the things that can be, based on your belief in yourself and the values you’re going to live by.
The last is dare. Dare to make your dreams become reality, based on your belief in yourself and your values. ”
And with that, Walter E. Disney said to the little boy,
“Think, Believe, Dream, and Dare.”
The Olympic Games, Mexico, 1968. The marathon is the final event on the program. The Olympic stadium is packed and there is excitement as the first athlete, an Ethiopian runner, enters the stadium. The crowd erupts as he crosses the finish line.
Way back in the field is another runner, John Stephen Akwhari of Tanzania. He has been eclipsed by the other runners. After 30 kilometers his head is throbbing, his muscles are aching and he falls to the ground. He has serious leg injuries and officials want him to retire, but he refuses. With his knee bandaged Akwhari picks himself up and hobbles the remaining 12 kilometers to the finish line. An hour after the winner has finished Akwhari enters the stadium. All but a few thousand of the crowd have gone home. Akwhari moves around the track at a painstakingly slow pace, until finally he collapses over the finish line.
It is one of the most heroic efforts of Olympic history. Afterward, asked by a reporter why he had not dropped out, Akwhari says, “My country did not send me to start the race. They sent me to finish.”
Source: reported on Sydney 2000 Olympics website
Who among us could live without computers? It seems they’re everywhere – in our studies at home, on our desks at work, in the library, the bank and even the cafe. We get pleasure from them, we swear at them, we need them.
But it’s only a recent thing. Just 3 generations ago the Chairman of IBM declared there is a world market for only five computers. As recently as 1977 the President of Digital Equipment claimed there is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home!
The revolution was brought to us in large part by Steven Jobs, the founder of Apple Computers. Steve Jobs was just 21 when he and Steve Wozniak invented the Apple Computer. Until then computers were a monstrous mass of vacuum tubes which took whole rooms. Then the two Steve’s managed to take that mass of tubes and incorporate them inside a box small enough to sit on a desk.
Jobs and Wozniak offered their invention to Atari. They weren’t interested in big bucks – all they wanted was a salary and the opportunity to continue their work. Atari knocked them back. They offered it to Hewlett-Packard, but Hewlett Packard knocked them back. It seemed Jobs and Wozniak alone could see the possibilities. So Jobs sold his Volkswagon and Wozniak sold his calculator, and with the $1300 that gave them they formed Apple Computers. The company was named Apple in memory of a happy summer Jobs had spent working in an orchard.
The rest is history. By all accounts Steve Jobs is a visionary, and spurred on by that vision he built a successful computer company. But Jobs soon discovered that if his vision was to reach fruition they needed greater management expertise. So Jobs approached John Sculley, then President of PepsiCo. There was absolutely no reason why Sculley should leave a highly paid position in a world leading company to go work with a bunch of computer nerds in a fledgling industry. Not unsurprisingly he turned Jobs down. But Jobs wouldn’t take no for an answer. He approached Sculley again. Again Sculley turned him down. In a last ditch effort Jobs passionately presented his visionary ideas to Sculley and he asked Sculley a question that forced him to accept. The question was this: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?”
“Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?” Indeed Jobs and Sculley did change the world.
Jesus comes to us with the same question: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?” Most of us spend our lives making sugared water, going to work to accumulate more possessions and perhaps finding space for God and the world in our spare time. But Jesus had a vision to change the world. His was the vision of the kingdom of God and he calls us to place it at the center of our lives, to make it our reason for existence (Matthew 6.33).
Source: information on Jobs and Sculley from “silicon_valley_story” and “ideafinder” websites.
Sylvester Stallone shot to fame in the movie Rocky. But Stallone’s own story is as inspiring as that of the character he plays. His slurred speech and snarling look are the result of a facial nerve that was severed during his birth and his early years were spent bouncing between foster families in the infamous Hells Kitchen area. An outcast at school thanks to his facial deformities, he was sent to a high school for troubled kids and voted “most likely to end up in the electric chair”.
After school Stallone went to beauty college, but left to turn his attention to acting. He didn’t meet with much success. He worked at a deli throughout most of his twenties and before Rocky made him a star was so broke that he was forced to sell his dog, to which was so attached he was in tears, for $25, to sell his wife’s jewelry and ended up living in a bus shelter.
His break came when he went to a boxing match in which an unknown underdog Chuck Wepner took the world champion Muhammed Ali to 15 rounds. Stallone went home and in three days wrote the first draft of Rocky. When he started hawking it around to the studios there was immediate interest. They saw the script as a great vehicle for a big star – names such as Robert Redford and Burt Reynolds were thrown around – and offered to buy the script. But Stallone wasn’t selling, not unless he was given the lead. The studios kept offering more, on the condition Stallone didn’t act in the movie. Each time Stallone refused, even when $325,000 was put on the table, the highest amount ever offered for a script. Despite having just $106 in the bank Stallone wouldn’t give up.
“I knew that if I took the money I’d regret it for the rest of my life,” said Stallone. “And the picture was about taking that golden shot when you finally get it.”
The studio eventually gave in, buying the script for $35,000, with Stallone to work as a writer without a fee and as an actor for award wages. Stallone got the lead role and the movie was reduced to low budget production.
The rest is history. Rocky was a massive hit, won an Oscar for best picture and Stallone became a star.
Sources: boxing-mobthly.com, chicagonow.com, imdb.com, nndb.com
History abounds with tales of experts who were convinced that the ideas, plans, and projects of others could never be achieved. However, accomplishment came to those who said, “I can make it happen.”
The Italian sculptor Agostino d’Antonio worked diligently on a large piece of marble. Unable to produce his desired masterpiece, he lamented, “I can do nothing with it.” Other sculptors also worked this difficult piece of marble, but to no avail. Michelangelo discovered the stone and visualized the possibilities in it. His “I-can-make-it-happen” attitude resulted in one of the world’s masterpieces – David.
The experts of Spain concluded that Columbus’s plans to discover a new and shorter route to the West Indies was virtually impossible. Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand ignored the report of the experts. “I can make it happen,” Columbus persisted. And he did. Everyone knew the world was flat, but not Columbus. The Nina, the Pinta, the Santa Maria, along with Columbus and his small band of followers, sailed to “impossible” new lands and thriving resources.
Even the great Thomas Alva Edison discouraged his friend, Henry Ford, from pursuing his fledgling idea of a motorcar. Convinced of the worthlessness of the idea, Edison invited Ford to come and work for him. Ford remained committed and tirelessly pursued his dream. Although his first attempt resulted in a vehicle without reverse gear, Henry Ford knew he could make it happen. And, of course, he did.
“Forget it,” the experts advised Madame Curie. They agreed radium was a scientifically impossible idea. However, Marie Curie insisted, “I can make it happen.”
Let’s not forget our friends Orville and Wilbur Wright. Journalists, friends, armed forces specialists, and even their father laughed at the idea of an airplane. “What a silly and insane way to spend money. Leave flying to the birds,” they jeered. “Sorry,” the Wright brothers responded. “We have a dream, and we can make it happen.” As a result, a place called Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, became the setting for the launching of their “ridiculous” idea.
Finally, as you read these accounts under the magnificent lighting of your environment, consider the plight of Benjamin Franklin. He was admonished to stop the foolish experimenting with lighting. What an absurdity and waste of time! Why, nothing could outdo the fabulous oil lamp. Thank goodness Franklin knew he could make it happen.
For most of us who live in the West life would be pretty difficult without motor vehicles. They have proved an enormous convenience, and though a drain on the environment, an enormous benefit to us in many ways.
But it wasn’t always the case. The first ever “horseless carriage” was built in 1769 by a Frenchman named Nicholas-Joseph Cugnot. It was an enormous three wheeled, steam powered, gun carriage, which travelled along at the neckbreaking speed of 1 kilometre per hour.
At the time I can’t imagine many people saw that great a benefit in Cugnot’s horseless carriage. It was very expensive, very noisy, and it couldn’t match the pace of even the oldest nag. Yet from that horseless carriage came a revolution.
Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that it’s OK to start small, with an idea that seems crazy, and watch to see if from that embryonic vision, something great might happen.
Source: Scott Higgins. Scientific info from Dr Karl Kruszelnicki’s New Moments in Science #1