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Sir Edmund Hillary

An excerpt from a 1991 interview at http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/hil0int-1.

Q: Of course, we're all unique and have our own paths, but kids sometimes get so confused and feel they've got to be like somebody else. How would you encourage young people to find their own way?

A: The only way to encourage them to find their own path is to tell them that, in my view, that's the only way in life. It's one of the things I really like about Tibetan Buddhism. I have no particular religious beliefs at all, but I am interested in all religions. In Tibetan Buddhism, one of the strongest features is that they believe that everyone must choose their own path in life. They don't try to convert you to their particular form of religion, but it's up to you to choose your own path. I like that very much indeed. I think that's a great approach to philosophy. I think that we have to learn to choose our own path, to make our own way, and in many ways, to overcome our own problems.

There are many people who, when they're in a moment of danger, will resort to prayer and hope that God will get them out of this trouble. I've always had the feeling that to do that is a slightly sneaky way of doing things. If I've got myself into that situation, I always felt it's up to me to make the effort somehow to get myself out again and not to rely on some super-human human being who can just lift me out of this rather miserable situation.

That may be a slightly arrogant approach, but I still feel that in the end, it's up to us to meet our challenges and to overcome them.


Q: Before concluding our conversation, can you remember some incident that was extremely dangerous for you, where someone else may have prayed for help, where you took responsibility?

A: Well I have no doubt at all that, when I've been on slightly questionable expeditions, people have prayed for my welfare, but I certainly haven't.

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