In 1961, President John F. Kennedy had a vision that the United States could land a man on the moon within 10 years. It was only 60 years before that that the Wright brothers flew the first airplane at Kitty Hawk. Yet, Kennedy had this vision that we could push our creativity and limits and within a short timeframe achieve what everybody else thought was impossible. That vision rallied people and resources and ignited the imagination and creativity not just of an entire country but of the world. The interesting thing is that it was the competition from the U.S.’s enemy at the time, the Soviet Union, that spurred that vision.
Today, sadly, marks the final landing of the space shuttle. NASA will no longer be out beacon to the cosmos. Instead NASA’s mission is to apologize and perform “outreach to the Muslim world“. In a twisted perversion of Kennedy’s vision, we no longer should compete against others to better mankind and reach the stars but to subjugate our interests and apologize to others for a host of litanys that had nothing to do with us. Where Kennedy once showed strong vision and leadership, with the killing of the space program and the ‘redefining’ of NASA President Obama shows lack of leadership and stifling of creativity and innovation into a set of strange apologies. The irony is that with all of this ‘outreach’, America is more despised than ever in the Arab world. Why? Because we are no longer strong leaders with visions but reactive weaklings who ‘lead from behind’, which should more aptly be called following and passing the buck.
The lesson learned is that people respect leaders who have vision, tenacity and challenge those around them instead of trying to appease them. It is a good lesson for all of us to learn, whether we are leading families, businesses or governments. Strong leaders have vision and rallying people to those visions. Weak leaders simply react to events and try to please everybody. The irony is that instead of pleasing everybody, they please nobody!