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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


Lee Berger

The Origins of Humanity

Lee Berger: A lot of my ideas were always pushing edges, pushing boundaries. No one's ever made a great discovery by surging behind a wave, and I was always pushing boundaries. I also took a stance in the late 1990s about open access to fossils. You've got to remember, it's very important to remember, that I'm almost the first generation of scientists -- people my age and just maybe a year older -- that were never without a computer. We are the first computer generation. I had one as a child. I've always had one. It makes us think differently. We're almost the Facebook generation of scientists. And in the late 1990s, there were some behavioral abnormalities within paleoanthropology that bothered me a lot, and I was in a very powerful position. A young man, made director and saving one of the most powerful chairs in the science of paleoanthropology, and I had fossils that had been found by other people -- albeit in the very distant past-- under my control. And in this science, those are resources. I decided to open them up, let everyone look at them. It now is called "open access." We didn't have a name for it at that time really. But took a relatively public stance on that, that I was going to let people see these fossils. It was not the way it was done.
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Lee Berger

The Origins of Humanity

I ended up in Savannah, Georgia, and I walked into a local TV station and said, "May I see the manager?" And he said -- well, the secretary for some reason said, "No." And I was standing there devastated and he walked by and he said, "Who's this?" And I said, "I'm Lee Berger and I'd like to work for you for free." And he went, "What?" And I said, "Really, I'm just fascinated by this." I'd had one video course, and I loved it, in college during that period. And he said, "I can't let you work for free." He said, "But you know, we've got the worst job in this place, which is the studio cameraman thing. I'm desperate to fill this. If you're willing to work for minimum wage and learn that thing, I'll do it." Three months later I was the head cameraman in that division. Four months later I was in charge of -- I was in the news camera division because I saw how exciting it was. I ended up in some wild things. I got hired by the leading station within a couple of months. Started the first night news program in Savannah, Georgia. Ended up saving a woman's life because I was caught in a weird circumstance where the police had gone up river in the Savannah River when they heard that a woman had fallen in the river. And I ended up downstream -- that's part of my Eagle Scout -- where I ended up downstream all alone, and there went a woman going by. And my job was to film and I had to make a decision instantly: film this woman -- but the next stop is the Atlantic Ocean -- or not. And I dropped my camera, which they were very fragile and very expensive back then, and jumped in and brought her in. And that was an amazing moment for me because it brought a lot of attention to me nationally. It occurred just after an event where some reporters had filmed a woman who'd set herself on fire. I ended up as this young guy amongst professional reporters in this national debate of right or wrong if the press intervenes. I wasn't prepared for it. I realized how woefully unprepared I was to suddenly be launched into the profession of journalism.
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Yogi Berra

Baseball Hall of Fame

I got in the Navy when I was 18 years old. And, from there they sent me to Bainbridge, Maryland, for boot camp. Then they shipped me down back to Norfolk where I started from, Little Creek down there -- base down there. And, I got tired of sitting around. Then they said, "We're looking for volunteers to go in the amphibs." And they didn't tell us what kind of boat, just "in the amphibs." So, I joined in, I said, "Well, I want to join the amphibs." There, being 18 years old. And, then they said I was on a rocket boat -- 36-footer, with 12 rockets on each side, five machine guns, a twin-50 and the 330s. And only 36 feet, made out of wood and a little metal. And, when I went back -- we went back to Bainbridge to do some training. And, I couldn't write home and tell them what I was doing, because them boats weren't out yet, for the invasion of Normandy. So, we started training there, and then we came back to Little Creek again and we started to train a little bit what we were supposed to do. It's amazing what that little boat could do, though; that 36-footer. We could shoot out rockets. We could shoot one at a time, two at a time, or we could shoot all 24 at a time. We went in on the invasion. We were the first ones in, before the Army come in.
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Yogi Berra

Baseball Hall of Fame

Yogi Berra: We stayed on the water for ten days. They gave us C-rations to eat while we were on it, slept on it. And, we finally got back on the ship, the USS Bayfield, P833. We were so tired, so they said -- and no sooner had I got in the bed, we get a general quarters order. And, I said, "Tough luck. I'm not getting out of this bed. I'm staying right in it." Fortunately enough, nothing happened to us. We were lucky. But, you just get so tired, you got to say that. But then, I enjoyed it. I wasn't scared. Going into, it looked like Fourth of July. It really did. Eighteen-year-old kid, going in an invasion where we had - I've never seen so many planes in my life, we had going over there.
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Jeff Bezos

Founder and CEO, Amazon.com

Jeff Bezos: I went to my boss and said to him, "You know, I'm going to go do this crazy thing and I'm going to start this company selling books online." This was something that I had already been talking to him about in a sort of more general context, but then he said, "Let's go on a walk." And, we went on a two hour walk in Central Park in New York City and the conclusion of that was this. He said, "You know, this actually sounds like a really good idea to me, but it sounds like it would be a better idea for somebody who didn't already have a good job." He convinced me to think about it for 48 hours before making a final decision. So, I went away and was trying to find the right framework in which to make that kind of big decision. I had already talked to my wife about this, and she was very supportive and said, "Look, you know you can count me in 100 percent, whatever you want to do." It's true she had married this fairly stable guy in a stable career path, and now he wanted to go do this crazy thing, but she was 100 percent supportive. So, it really was a decision that I had to make for myself, and the framework I found which made the decision incredibly easy was what I called -- which only a nerd would call -- a "regret minimization framework." So, I wanted to project myself forward to age 80 and say, "Okay, now I'm looking back on my life. I want to have minimized the number of regrets I have." I knew that when I was 80 I was not going to regret having tried this. I was not going to regret trying to participate in this thing called the Internet that I thought was going to be a really big deal. I knew that if I failed I wouldn't regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not ever having tried. I knew that that would haunt me every day, and so, when I thought about it that way it was an incredibly easy decision. And, I think that's very good. If you can project yourself out to age 80 and sort of think, "What will I think at that time?" it gets you away from some of the daily pieces of confusion. You know, I left this Wall Street firm in the middle of the year. When you do that, you walk away from your annual bonus. That's the kind of thing that in the short-term can confuse you, but if you think about the long-term then you can really make good life decisions that you won't regret later.
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Jeff Bezos

Founder and CEO, Amazon.com

The first initial start-up capital for Amazon.com came primarily from my parents, and they invested a large fraction of their life savings in what became Amazon.com. And you know, that was a very bold and trusting thing for them to do because they didn't know. My dad's first question was, "What's the Internet?" Okay. So he wasn't making a bet on this company or this concept. He was making a bet on his son, as was my mother. So, I told them that I thought there was a 70 percent chance that they would lose their whole investment, which was a few hundred thousand dollars, and they did it anyway. And, you know, I thought I was giving myself triple the normal odds, because really, if you look at the odds of a start-up company succeeding at all, it's only about ten percent. Here I was, giving myself a 30 percent chance.
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