1962-09-12 Houston, Texas / The hard Way / Der harte Weg / O jeito Difícil / El camino Difícil

How many times do you choose the easy route rather than the wise route? How many times do you close your eyes to wrongdoings even though you should speak your mind? How many times do you follow the crowd even though your conscience tells you to do otherwise? Are you simply taking the easy way out?

It is one thing to know the difference between right and wrong and quite another to live your life that way. People with strong moral character set high standards, are true to their beliefs, and know that real success must be achieved the right way. Many people want to live a successful life, not many, however, are willing to pay the price.

People with moral character believe that living with honor trumps anything that can possibly be gained by selling their soul. Success is not about fancy titles, luxurious toys, or celebrity status; living with honor offers a truly priceless reward – inner peace. The alternative, winning without honor, is worse than a resounding defeat.

People with strong moral character can’t be influenced by opinion, enticed by temptation or intimidated by pressure. People with strong moral character answer to the toughest of all critics – their conscience. They are not driven by the desire to win at all costs but by the appeal of being true to oneself. They care not only about where life has taken them, but about how they got there.

Will you choose the hard right rather than the easy wrong? Listen to your conscience. You have to live with yourself for the rest of your life. When given the choice between the easy way and the hard way, great people consistently choose the hard way. The greatest lessons in life are those you learn the hard way.

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 we intend to win, and the others, too.

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