Channeling JFK

October 1, 2010

For many years, I’ve been greatly inspired by some of JFK’s speeches from his time as President.  Perhaps the most inspirational of them is the speech he gave at Rice University regarding the space program and his challenge for the USA to go to the moon in the 60s.  As a side note, I find it somewhat disturbing that a video of this historical significance has less than 200k views, yet random videos of people falling off of treadmills get millions of views.  But I digress.

JFK at Rice UniversityThis speech is particularly powerful to me because of the challenge that JFK put forth to our nation.  It was a challenge of almost unimaginable proportions and one that he had no concrete plan for how to solve.  I thought about his message this past weekend at Creating Irresistible Presence when we were talking about stepping outside our comfort zones and pushing all the chips to the center of the table.  The parallels are clear to me. Sometimes we have to push ourselves beyond what we know intellectually and into what we know in our core.  When we know something at the gut level, when that burning passion is there, we must go and do what we are called to do.

Perhaps the most quoted portion is at 8:48:

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’re willing to accept – one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others too.

This famous message holds lessons for us all.  On a personal level, we each have our own challenges that we must overcome – some of which seem insurmountable right now.  But we can overcome, and we can achieve greatness when we believe in our dreams.

If you have never watched this speech, I highly recommend it.  It’s just under 18 minutes long, but is a true testament to the power of inspirational leadership.

What does this bring up for you?  Feel free to share your thoughts or reactions in the comments.

photo courtesy of


  • Reply Teresa Romain October 1, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Love this speech and this post Brandon!

    Just what I needed to hear/read!!!


    • Reply Brandon101 October 1, 2010 at 11:21 am

      Thanks Teresa! I refer back to this speech often when I need a good jolt of inspiration. There is an energy about it that is unlike anything I've heard from a US President in my lifetime. And look what happened as a result of it!

      Glad it resonated with you.

  • Reply Frank Dickinson October 1, 2010 at 11:35 am


    Thanks for posting this on Twitter and for including it in your blog. I have often wondered just how different the world would be today had Oswald not taken that deadly shot.

    I find in the JFK speeches a deep sense of passion and foresight. He had the ability to capture the nations mind AND heart.

    The same is true today as we seek to move outside the safe and usual to the new, exciting and, yes, hard.

    I am drawn to those around me that have the ability to push themselves and me down the "hard" path.

    This post did it for me.

    • Reply Brandon101 October 2, 2010 at 10:20 am

      Thanks Frank – I know what you mean about wondering what the world might have been like. Plenty of those turning points to ponder.

      JFK definitely had a passion and conviction in his speeches that rallied people to a higher calling. He brought people together instead of dividing them into ideological camps. I also like the fact that he acknowledged the sacrifices that would be necessary in order to achieve the goal. It's going to cost more – plain and simple. I would love to see that same kind of conversation take place around some of the big issues we face today. Yes, it's hard – that's what makes it worth doing!

      I'm glad this resonated with you.

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