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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


Ernst Mayr

The Darwin of the 20th Century

After I had been up in the mountains about three or four weeks, suddenly a troop of -- I think it was five -- of the native police of Indonesia appeared in my camp, and they had a letter which said that the Governor of New Guinea and the Moluccas -- that was one person -- couldn't allow that a person of such distinction as I, because I had letters from the German government, to be unprotected and these five police soldiers should protect me against these dreadful natives. Of course, I had gotten on fine with the natives. I couldn't see any danger at all, but these soldiers, every evening they just became guardians of the entrances to my little camp so that nobody could enter it and do something to me. Pretty soon they saw all sorts of things happening there. They were terribly scared of the natives and pretty soon shooting started. "Oh, but we saw something and we had to shoot at it." I was really annoyed and I was also a little bit concerned because I felt maybe there is something to all of this, and one night they woke me up after another shooting spell and said, "We just shot somebody." And I said, "Oh, my God, that's the end of my expedition here." I said, "Where is he?" So they took me across a little brook that was alongside my camp and I looked around with a kerosene lamp and I couldn't see anything. There wasn't anybody there.
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Ernst Mayr

The Darwin of the 20th Century

Suddenly somebody rushed into my little hut and said, "Oh, there are a lot of people coming. A lot of soldiers coming." And I said, "Now what?" And I went outside and I could see the ridge that came up from the coast, and the pass was right at the very top of the ridge. There was a column of about -- I think it was 105 people or something like that. There were two white men in uniforms of officers of the Colonial Police Force, and about 20 soldiers, and the rest were porters carrying all their stuff and food and so forth. I still didn't know what it was all about, but I decided to go down in the valley separating my ridge from this coastal ridge. There was a river flowing there, and I went down there, and the leading officer of the other group waded into the river towards me, and he said, "Oh, I'm so glad you're still alive." I said, "I didn't know I wasn't supposed " "Oh," he said, "The soldiers that you sent back to the coast reported that the natives had attacked your camp and had massacred you and all your people there, and 'we,' -- the police soldiers -- 'by shooting all of our ammunition have been able to escape and get down to the coast." They made up that story because they were embarrassed, appearing on the coast when they were supposed to protect me. And, as it appeared, having abandoned me. They had a court-martial later on and so on and so forth. A long story, but anyhow I was also told I had to now immediately return back to the coast. It was just too dangerous. But I knew that there was a lake even further in and even higher up that I'm sure was very interesting. So I totally disobeyed the order from the Dutch Government and I went up to that lake and sure enough discovered a new finch up there and several rare birds that I had never encountered anywhere else in New Guinea. So I had a really marvelous time.
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Willie Mays

Baseball Hall of Fame

Baseball was like walking through the park. But, coming into the business world, not being educated to the fact that you could deal with all of them, or one-on-one -- which I soon found out I could -- because just because you're in the business world doesn't mean that you're smarter than anybody that hasn't been to college. It doesn't mean that. You can deal with them one-on-one without any problem, and I could because I had been around the world started at age 15, so I knew actually what the business world was all about. I just was maybe a little frightened after coming out of baseball, being this star for so many years and now all of a sudden you're not the star, and that was frightening to me.
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Frank McCourt

Pulitzer Prize for Biography

Even though we were poor, at the lowest level, even below the lowest economic level, we were always excited. It was rich in the sense that we had a lot to look up to, to look forward to, a lot to aspire to, a lot to dream about. But in economic circumstances it was desperate. It was Calcutta with rain. At least they're warm in Calcutta. But it was desperate because of certain things, ingredients like my father being an alcoholic, my mother having too many babies in too short a time, no work available in Ireland, and even when my father did get a job he drank the wages. Then there was the harsh kind of schooling we had with school masters who ruled with a stick and then because of the overwhelming presence of the church, which imbued us with fear all the time. So it was fear, dampness, poverty, alcoholism, fear of the church, fear of the school masters, fear in general.
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Frank McCourt

Pulitzer Prize for Biography

There was no lolling about the floor. It was getting up in the morning at 6:30 to take the ferry to Staten Island to McKee Vocational High School, and to go into a class -- five classes of tough kids who were not a bit interested in what I had to say, so I had to hook them, and I was thrown into this. As I told you before, I had no high school education myself. I had never been in a high school so I had to -- I was -- nobody told me what to do. They just threw me into the classroom and here I was in front of these American teenagers who were a species from another world from me.
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Frank McCourt

Pulitzer Prize for Biography

One morning I was taking the train from Brooklyn into Manhattan, where I got the ferry to go out to Staten Island, and I was getting off the train at Whitehall Street, stepping off the train and on to the platform, and this thought came into my head, "You could decide today to be happy. You could just make a decision, instead of going in fear and trembling into the classroom." Now it's easy to say that, and it doesn't always work, but I realized that I was resisting some kind of gloom, gravity, that most of us, most of the time, we look on the dark side, I think, but you have to work at lifting yourself up but I tried it that day. It was the beginning of that kind of practice.
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