The Qualities that Will Always Endure

Hard work, perseverance, overcoming obstacles and having determination will never go out of style.

On Sept. 12, 1962, on the campus of Rice University in Houston, President John F. Kennedy gave one his most memorable speeches. It became known as the “We choose to go to the moon” speech, delivered to bolster public support for his pledge of reaching the moon before 1970.

One of the most powerful parts occurred midway through when Kennedy asked: “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?”

Then he answered his own questions with the following: “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.”

Sixty-one years and nine months later, retired New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady was honored by his former franchise. As part of his acceptance speech, he said: “But understand this, Life is hard. No matter who you are, there are bumps and hits and bruises along the way. And my advice is to prepare yourself because football lessons teach us that success and achievement come from overcoming adversity, and that team accomplishment far exceeds anyone’s individual goals. To be successful at anything, the truth is you don’t have to be special. You just have to be what most people aren’t. Consistent, determined, and willing to work for it. No shortcuts.”

“If you look at all my teammates here tonight, it would be impossible to find better examples of men who embody that work ethic, integrity, purpose, determination, and discipline that it takes to be a champion in life. We led by example.”

During those 22,554 days between each man’s speech, the world has dramatically changed. Parenting has changed, morals have been adapted, laws have been altered for society’s needs, styles have come and gone, and how we view one another is vastly different.

There have been wars, assassinations, tragedies, disappointments and heartache for all. What hasn’t changed, what hasn’t gone out of style, what will endure forever is what both very successful men who never met one another believed and spoke with great passion: Hard work, perseverance, overcoming obstacles, having determination, being coachable, being humble, being consistent will NEVER, EVER go out of style.

Don’t expect anything from anyone, don’t blame anyone, just keep working. Don’t worry about how long it might take, only worry about doing it day after day. Don’t hear the applause — only hear the bell ringing for the next day.

We can sit back and complain about how hard it might be to lead this generation of young people, when that has been the on-going complaint for the last century.

It’s not this generation we need to worry about. It’s simply asking ourselves, are we doing each day what doesn’t go out of style? 

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