Someone forgot that we’re supposed to be amazing.

Ambition, 1961

I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.

JFK

Ambition, 2013

The UK will aim to double its annual funding for dementia research to £132m by 2025, up from the 2015 target of £66m

David Cameron.

This needs little comment, so let’s just be sure we don’t miss the main lessons.

  1. The second one is not ‘leadership’.
  2. Passionately share a vision.
  3. Make that vision audacious – yet specific.
  4. Challenge people to be the very best they can be.

And because criticism is easy and doing is hard, here’s how to rewrite today’s news:

The work of civilisation is to improve conditions for everyone; and thanks to its bold and rigorous pursuit by those who have come before us, humanity has achieved amazing things: we live longer than ever, and life expectancy continues to rise across the world.

Their success brings new challenges for us to rise to. Our minds do not age as well as our bodies, and the dark fog of dementia lies on the horizon for most of us. Make no mistake: this is a hard problem. We may never completely clear the fog, but I am confident that as we work together across borders, share knowledge and commit our resources, we will make our futures clearer, and brighter.

Those who have come before us put years in the life – our challenge is to put life in those years.

 

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