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Key to success: Vision Key to success: Passion Key to success: Perseverance Key to success: Preparation Key to success: Courage Key to success: Integrity Key to success: The American Dream Keys to success homepage More quotes on Passion More quotes on Vision More quotes on Courage More quotes on Integrity More quotes on Preparation More quotes on Perseverance More quotes on The American Dream


David McCullough

Two Pulitzer Prizes for Biography

It wasn't that I was rebelling against the imprisonment of a vocation that wasn't for me. I liked the people I worked with. I went in every day very eager to do whatever we had to do. I was an editor then at American Heritage Publishing Company, but I had an idea for a book, and I began working on it at nights, and on weekends, and on vacations, and it took me three years. And when that book was published it had a reception -- both critically and publicly, with the reading public -- that was far beyond what I had expected. And at that point, I decided that I would cut loose and try it on my own. And, because I had a wonderful partner, editor-in-chief, wife, who was equally willing to take that risk -- biggest risk we ever took. I did it. Had I not had someone in my life who was as willing as I was to take the step, I might not have done it.
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Audra McDonald

Six Tony Awards

For me, the best way for me to maintain the concept of evolution and creativity is to constantly find something that's a challenge. When I'm being offered something, or I've got to put food on the table -- I've got a family, I've got to put food on the table -- but this is what I do as a living, and it's my calling. Whatever So for me it's like, "What is going to challenge me?" I'll have a couple of options, and whatever is the scariest is almost always what I end up choosing, because I figure that's where there's something to be learned. And where there's something to be learned there's evolution. So I'm always looking for a challenge.
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Audra McDonald

Six Tony Awards

You don't want to fall in your face, and you know that you probably will. But if you do somehow get through that challenge, look at what you're going to have learned, and look at what you're going to know. I was scared to death to do Bess in Porgy and Bess, and I thought I wouldn't survive it. I thought I'd kill myself vocally. I thought -- especially because we were attempting to put it in a more musical theater genre again as opposed to the operatic -- I knew the slings and arrows that were headed our way, and I thought, "And I left a really healthy television show in California to do this." I came back to go home, and left a really healthy paycheck and all that, to not only be with my family, but then also to pursue this Porgy and Bess. Because it scared the bejesus out of me, and because I knew that if I get past this, or even if I am just the slightest bit better as an actress -- or even a singer, or even a classical singer -- for having done this, it will be worth it. So there you go.
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William McRaven

The Art of Warfare

As you get up underneath the ship, as you approach a ship, there's a little bit of light above you. You can see it when you are underwater. But once you get close to the ship, the ship blocks out all the light, and the target for a ship is the keel, the center line of the ship. And as you get under there -- one, ships have machinery, so there is a very deafening noise as well which can disorient you very quickly. So you have to maintain your composure, you have to be calm, you have to move to the center line. You cannot see anything. So it is so black you literally can't see your hand in front of your face, so everything is by feel. And you also know that under a ship there are suctions which could, in fact, pull your facemask off or do some things. So you have to be very calm, very composed as you are making your way to the objective, even in a training environment. So this is another aspect of the SEAL training that's very important is learning to keep your composure when things are very, very difficult. Again, that is something that will weed a guy. A lot of guys could do the physical part, but when they got to this part that -- while it was still physical -- it was much more mental. It's about, "Don't be afraid under a ship. Be calm, take care of business and then get out and then keep moving on." So a lot of guys struggled with that and didn't make it through that part of the training.
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William McRaven

The Art of Warfare

William McRaven: We were doing a freefall so a static line parachute is where you hook up inside the aircraft, the freefall you jump out with a parachute on your back. So I was doing a freefall operation out in Southern California outside San Diego. And as I was descending, I noticed that there was a jumper below me on my right side and two jumpers below me on my left side. And the jumper below has got -- in terms of freefall they always have the right of way. So I was watching this guy over here, and before I knew it this guy here slid underneath me, so he was probably about 500, 600 feet below me and he opened his parachute. So in relative terms, he was coming up while I was going down. So as he opened his parachute, I kind of hit his parachute. It stunned me. I rolled off him. I rolled off his parachute and was a little stunned. So I pulled my ripcord knowing that I was getting to the altitude where you needed to pull it. And the pilot chute which comes out of the back of the parachute wrapped around one leg and then the risers, the webbing that is part of the parachute wrapped around the other leg and I was falling kind of head down towards the ground. The good news was that it opened; the bad news was when it opened it essentially broke me in two. So it broke my pelvis, it broke my back, it ripped a lot of muscles out. But the good news was I did get to the ground, and they came and picked me up in an ambulance and took me to the hospital and plated me and pinned me and got me back together again.
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