I came across the phrase ad astra per aspera — "to the stars through difficulties." I think I know what it means, but my interpretation appears to be at odds with others. For example:
The motto of Kansas, "Ad Astra per Aspera" is Latin for John James Ingalls coined the motto in 1861 stating, "The aspiration of Kansas is to reach the unattainable; its dream is the realization of the impossible." According to the Office of the Governor of Kansas: "This motto refers not only to the pioneering spirit of the early settlers, but also the difficult times Kansas went through before becoming a state. The anti-slavery forces and slavery proponents waged battles in the electoral process as well as on the battlefield. Kansas earned the nickname "Bloody Kansas" because of the war regarding slavery, much of which was fought on Kansas' soil."
Sure, I would agree with this meaning, but this is the context I would like to use it in:
First, it's an aspirational statement about achieving great things. However, it's just as equally a moral claim that if greatness is acquired without suffering, hardship, or toil, then something is lost. Yet it also appears to be a claim that it is from these very hardships that one acquires this greatness.
Am I reading into this a little too much?