Posted on April 1, 2014 by Evan Anderson
“but why some say, the moon? why choose this as our goal? and they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? why, 35 years ago, fly the atlantic, why does rice play texas?”
one of my all time favorite orators reminded me this weekend of president kennedy’ speech, september 12, 1962 at rice university, to persuade the american people to support the effort of nasa to go to the moon. the soviets had successfully launched sputnik four years earlier and a russian cosmonaut became the first man in space earlier that year. president kennedy had a vision of surpassing the soviets…but why?
“we choose to go to the moon. we choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”
kennedy’s speech appealed to the public’s entrepreneurial heritage and described space as a new frontier. equally important, it challenged america. bravado cannot take the place of profound commitment and what followed was nothing short of spectacular execution…”we choose to go to the moon because it is hard.”
after re-reading this speech i thought of cal newport & the importance of stretching. the importance of proving oneself. as an entrepreneur, the conquering of the challenge, that’s the prize. putting yourself through an intense trial of fire and coming out forged on the other end. you cannot know the strength of the steel you hold until it strikes something solid. and you cannot know what kind of person you are until you look hardship and difficulty in the eye, face it, and rise to its challenge. without that test, you just don’t know.