Because It’s Difficult

Last night I asked my friend why he decided to embark on a certain complicated project. He replied, “Because it’s difficult.” We talked about why he’s drawn so much to difficulty. He embraces difficulty. He craves it. The more difficult, the more exciting.

“Aren’t you drawn to difficulty?” he asked.

I thought about this for a while. I do like challenges. I do like completing hard tasks. But what if I lived more like my friend who seeks out difficult tasks and enjoys them? Mostly, I look for the easy path. Maybe tomorrow I could wake up and think, “What would be the most difficult thing I could accomplish today?”

That would change my life.

I remembered President John F. Kennedy’s famous address at Rice University on September 12, 1962. In that speech, you’ll find these lines about the space effort:

There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation may never come again. 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? 

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. . .

Well, space is there, and we’re going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God’s blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked

-John F. Kennedy

Let’s choose to do things which organize and measure the best of our energies and skills.

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