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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Learning from Mark Inglis - the man who stood at top of Mount Everest

In Life, the biggest challenge is embracing challenge – there is the eternal mind block that changes mostly are bad, insurmountable and are impediments – though not all of them are so.   It was a great afternoon on 15th Feb 2012, when we had chance to hear about the challenges and how they could be overcome in the face of adversity – and can there be a better man who can inspire through his personal example of having turned the biggest impediment to his advantage and turning out to be one at the top of summit, literally.

Mark Joseph Inglis is not just another mountaineer; he is a  researcher, winemaker and motivational speaker. He holds a degree in Human Biochemistry from Lincoln University, New Zealand, and has conducted research in Leukemia. He is also an accomplished cyclistand won a silver medal in the 1 km time trial event at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games !  In 1982, Mark  Inglis and climbing partner Philip Doole were stuck in an snow cave on Aoraki/Mount Cook for 13 days due to an intense blizzard. The rescue of the two climbers was a major media event in New Zealand. Mark in response to a query that at some point time people had lost hopes and had even reported them not to be alive.  It was destined to be otherwise – they were found.  Both men's legs became badly frost bitten while awaiting rescue. Following Inglis' rescue, both his legs were amputated below the knee.

He waxed eloquence quoting Albert Einstein stating ‘doing something the same way every time and expecting a different result is – Insanity’.  He drew parallels to his experience to the pressures of Corporate World – the stress that people claim to face everyday in Office and in their work.  His words were free flowing as it were the thoughts of the mind, which had conquered the World by Self Belief, Resilience and learnt by balancing responsibilities and risks. 

It was nerve-chilling to hear him say ‘You never know what it is like till it happens to you’ – only when we try to put ourselves in other’s shoes, one can experience the pain and suffering lest it would be empty prattle. 

He advised people to look everything as opportunity and not as adversity  - Great words as after that fateful incident, he lost both his legs still returned to Mt. Cook in 2002 and reached the summit successfully on 7 January of that year, after a previous attempt was thwarted by problems with his leg stumps. The summit assault in January 2002 was documented by the film No Mean Feat: The Mark Inglis Story.  Not to be satisfied with that achievement, he went on to challenge the challenge.    On 15 May 2006, after forty days of climbing, Inglis became the first ever double amputee to reach the summit of Mount Everest.  Inglis's Everest expedition was filmed for the Discovery Channel series Everest: Beyond the Limit.

It was a day when the entire hall listened spell-bound to his words, treating them as lessons of life.  Simple, easy to follow advices – yet carrying greater meaning were they :  Some of them were – Innovate, Learn to do things by yourself; Communicate – connect with the Team; do things with Focus; step into the unknown; sustain the leadership and be the change-maker.  He is Great for he is not only an achiever but chose to ‘share the lessons learnt’ with others. He concluded with practical wisdom of saying that “only those who can risk going to our can possibly find out how long they can go”. The biggest motivation after any fall, is the ability to get up, look back to see how much you have progressed.

There could be very many occasions where we get to hear to learned people or achievers – but this stage set by Royal Sundaram certainly provided a very different opportunity.  It was a day where you felt great respect and reverence for the achievement of the Speaker and it only progressed as you heard him speak.. 

Certainly a day to remember – and Mark Inglis sure is bound to change the way people think… !  Kudos to him and thanks to Royal Sundaram for presenting this opportunity to hear him and enlighten ourselves.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.


  1. Great Man, greater spirits and strong mind = greatest achivements.. well and truly shown - Mark

  2. Good to read Sir -Naren