Light This Candle

Alan ShepardI’m always looking for quotations I can use in a presentation. I have found that historical events often provide stories that include powerful quotations.  One such example is the story of the first flight into space by Alan Shepard.

On May 5, 1961, he crawled into his little Mercury spacecraft with very little room to move around.  One writer said that it would be like sitting in the driver’s seat of a small car with two heavy raincoats on.

Because of weather conditions and minor repairs to his radio system, he remained cooped up in the small space for four hours as NASA pondered whether to launch him or not.  Finally, tired of waiting, he asked this vivid and powerful question:  “Why don’t you fellows fix your little problem and light this candle?”  Shortly after, they launched Shepard for his 15-minute flight. (“Light This Candle” became the title for a biography of Shepard by Neal Thompson.)

This story could be told to emphasize that at some point you must take action on a problem you have been working on, or you never know if something will work unless you try.

Light This Candle!

I’m always looking for quotations I can use in a presentation. I have found that historical events often provide stories that include powerful quotations.

We were all reminded this past week with the death of Neil Armstrong of his famous quotation as he landed on the moon. I also found in the many articles about previous flights one that told of the first flight into space by Alan Shepard.

On May 5, 1961, he crawled into his small Mercury spacecraft with very little room to move around. One writer said that it would be like sitting in the driver’s seat of a small car with two heavy raincoats on.

Because of weather conditions and minor repairs to his radio system, he remained cooped up in the small space for four hours as NASA pondered whether to launch him or not.

Finally, tired of waiting, he said, “Why don’t you fellows solve your little problems and light this candle?”  Shortly after, they launched Shepard for his l5-minute flight. (This vivid and powerful statement, “Light This Candle” became the title for a biography of Shepard by Neal Thompson.)

This story could be told to emphasize that at some point you must take action on a problem you have been working on. It also shows that you never know if something will work unless you try.

Pay attention to significant historical events. You might find a story and a great quotation to use in your next speech.