Climbing to the top

These walls are cleverly designed. The coloured shapes you see on them are called holds, meant for your hands and feet as you try to climb them.

The easiest way to get to the top is to use any colour hold. If you want to make it harder for yourself you can use only one colour hold. Certain colours are more difficult than others.

The problem is that in order to achieve the really worthwhile things, the things people will remember, the holds aren’t obvious. The route to the top isn’t necessarily mapped out, or indeed linear – indeed no-one knows, because in these situations it often hasn’t been done before.

Our country has been remembering John Hume over the last few days. I have never heard so many universally positive tributes paid to a politician.

It’s mainly because he achieved something that no other politician did. And the holds to get there weren’t obvious. But he found them. One by one. Mainly by sticking to his beliefs, even when it got hard. Even when it was unpopular. Even when his children had to pass a picket on his house to get home.

Most of us will never be in that situation. We hope. We may never achieve anything that affects so many people.

But we can still try and do worthwhile things. In whatever field. Things that may seem difficult, but are eminently possible.

We just may have to find the holds ourselves.