This I Believe

Hunt, John Hunt, Baron

  • Sir John Hunt describes his belief that all worthwhile achievements are accomplished with the help of inspiration and ultimately, God.
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Sir John Hunt was the leader of the first expedition to reach the Summit of Mt. Everest. He was born in India, graduated from Sandhurst and was commissioned into the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, serving in India where he studied Urdu and learned to live like an Indian. He made his first Himalayan expedition in 1935. During World War II he was chief instructor of the Commando Mountain and Snow Warfare School, then commanded the Eleventh Indian Infantry Brigade in the mountains of Italy. After writing his “Ascent of Everest” John Hunt was knighted and appointed Assistant Commander of the Staff College at Camberley. Here are the beliefs of Sir John Hunt.
I confess that sorting out a belief hasn’t come easily to me. Life’s so full of difficulties, setbacks, and complications which seem to give the lie to many of the formulas we’ve been given and the set ideas we’ve built up as to its fundamental meaning and purpose. We think we see a glimmering of the truth, and then all of a sudden, we are again floundering in a sea of uncertainty and doubt. Often, it’s tempting to believe in nothing, to trust only in one’s self.
Yet this brings me to the one thing I really am convinced about, namely, that of ourselves, we can achieve nothing, or rather nothing worthwhile. If a man does something which is fine and worthy, something which we all recognize as being good, I doubt wager that he does it because he has an inner urge to do so.
How often do we receive a sudden mental flash to take or resist some line of action? It’s probably inconvenient to ourselves. It may be difficult, and its purpose may not be obvious at the time. And how seldom do most of us act upon these urges, and how often their neglect? Indulge in our imagined interest merely brings us disappointment. This is a pity, because they invariably lead to unexpected happiness for others and, incidentally, ourselves.
I believe that the more we heed these prompting thoughts, the more they come, and vice versa. Doubtless, if we stifle them every time, we cease to be aware of them in the long run. Now another word for this urge is “inspiration.”
I like to believe that it is the still, small voice of a higher spirit speaking to our better nature, to our inner selves. And what is this higher spirit if not God?
At any rate, it all seems to add up. On this Earth, we all pursue happiness, and rightly so, but we usually look for it in the wrong direction. Only by obeying one’s conscience and cultivating one’s hearing of that inner guidance, in other words, prayer, can we find it, certainly not by following our own worldly whims.
And there’s another thing which strengthens my belief. A man, inspired with a great purpose, is an inspiration to others.
He’s possessed of a power which kindles the good in his fellows. Inspiration is infectious, and just so long as he remembers that this power does not derive from himself, but from God, provided he fights off pride and the devil, he and his comrades can do great deeds. But if he allows himself to believe that he’s all-powerful, to believe, in fact, in his own divinity, then he and his edifice will crash to Earth. And this is only another way of confessing a belief, however faltering, in God and his goodness.
Those were the beliefs of Sir John Hunt, leader of the first successful ascent of Everest.