Scottish Himalayan Expedition Boldness Poster… 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!


–Roughly* translated from

Goethe’s play Faust

–W. H. Murray

The Scottish Himalayan Expedition, 1951



*Very roughly:


Was heute nicht geschieht, ist Morgen nicht gethan,

Und keinen Tag soll man verpassen,

Das Mögliche soll der Entschluß

Beherzt sogleich beym Schopfe fassen,

Er will es dann nicht fahren lassen,

Und wirket weiter, weil er muß.



Closer is:


Never is done tomorrow what is not done today

And one should let no day slip by.

With resolution seize the possible straightway

By forelock and with quick, courageous trust;

Then holding fast you will not let it further fly

And you will labour on because you must.


–Translated by George Madison Priest.