I saw part of this passage as a preface to a strategy document I was reading at work today. The bold part really speaks to me.
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 many 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.
President John F. Kennedy, September 12, 1962, at Rice University, Houston, Texas
I get asked all the time why I enjoy endurance triathlon and trail runs and other big goals that test my limits to some degree. I do these things because it helps me really see what I am capable of. I also believe that excellence in one part of life does translate into other parts of life – even if the goal is ultimately not accomplished as planned. When I am focused in my training, it is easier to focus at work, focus on great nutrition and focus on building quality relationships with friends.
When I am moving towards a worthy goal, it takes the “slack” out of my life and helps me achieve and focus more in many other areas. The collateral benefits of setting and working towards big goals are huge.