The Scottish Himalayan ExpeditionPosted: March 10, 2012
A quotation by [mountaineer W. H. Murray] is widely misattributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The following passage occurs near the beginning of Murray’s The Scottish Himalayan Expedition (1951):
… but when I said that nothing had been done I erred in one important matter. We had definitely committed ourselves and were halfway out of our ruts. We had put down our passage money— booked a sailing to Bombay. This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!
– from our old friends at Wikipedia. That Goethe quote is great, sure, but I’ll take Murray himself if I’m going on a hike. Murray’s autobiography, btw, was entitled The Evidence of Things Unseen, citing of course Hebrews 11:1.