“Not Because They Are Easy, But Because They Are Hard”: A Back to School and Work Pep Talk

I‘m listening to John F. Kennedy’s “We Choose to Go to the Moon” speech, delivered on September 12, 1962 at Rice University. He spoke to 35,000 people on that hot day about the nation’s space efforts. Landing a man on the moon, back then, must have seemed impossible, ridiculous even. 

He says the famous lines: “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.”

I find my heart racing faster as I watch the video of this speech. The line, “not because they are easy, but because they are hard,” inspires me to my core. Yes! Let’s go forth and do hard things! Let’s do these things–not because they are easy, but precisely because they are difficult

Let’s do a hundred difficult things this year! Hard things, impossible things, things that organize and measure the best of us, things that challenge us, things that will change the whole world. 

I want to stand atop the breakfast table on our first day of school with my finger pointed in the air and my voice projecting out across the neighborhood: “We choose to do things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard!” 

Sometimes, hard things are the best things. 


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