Academy of Achievement Logo
Home
Achiever Gallery
Keys to Success
 Passion
 Vision
 Preparation
   + [ Courage ]
 Perseverance
 Integrity
 The American Dream
Achievement Podcasts
About the Academy
For Teachers

Search the site

Academy Careers

 
 
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


Charles Townes

Inventor of the Maser & Laser

A scientist has to decide: Is he right or is he wrong? And other people won't necessarily agree with you. Two very prominent professors in my department came in one day and said, "Look, you know that's not going to work. We know it's not going to work. Why don't you just stop bothering with it, and wasting time, wasting time and money?" I had spent I guess about 30,000 dollars building this up. And they assured me it wasn't going to work. Now, I had of course been working with it long enough, and thought about it enough that, well, I still think it has a good chance. And so I continued, and a couple of months later it was working. Now also, one should realize that many people came to my laboratory and looked at this, they weren't terribly excited about it. They said, "Well, you know, that's a kind of a nice idea." But nobody else tried to do it. It wasn't that interesting to other people at that time. They hadn't yet really grasped what it meant. And everybody was looking at it, "Well yes, okay, that's a kind of nice idea," but some doubted it would work. And nobody else was interested enough to try to do it, even though they knew all about what I was trying to do. I had showed them. So we could take two-and-a-half years -- no competition -- we just went our own course, and did the things we thought had some chance. And it turned out well. Now, it might have not turned out so well. It would have been interesting in any case, but maybe not quite so successful. So it was worth exploring, I was sure of that.
View Interview with Charles Townes
View Biography of Charles Townes
View Profile of Charles Townes
View Photo Gallery of Charles Townes



Charles Townes

Inventor of the Maser & Laser

I was young in most of my grades, too. Younger than the other children. I didn't put on long pants as soon as other children did. My parents felt short pants were okay, and it didn't bother me. But I got picked on, just for being a little different. Now I've always thought that actually that was very good training. My parents believed in what they believed, and they taught me to do that too, and to not worry if somebody else doesn't agree with you. That's a very important aspect of creativity. Because in looking at things that other people may not think are useful or good or right, and you have to decide for yourself what's important. And that's a part of certainly the scientific tradition. You have to think things through yourself. And just because somebody else doesn't agree with you doesn't mean you should stop. That's just the time you ought to think hard, see who really is right. So this being picked on a little bit, I don't think it was a bad thing. And it didn't trouble me all that much.
View Interview with Charles Townes
View Biography of Charles Townes
View Profile of Charles Townes
View Photo Gallery of Charles Townes



Ted Turner

Founder, Cable News Network

Ted Turner: When I made the decision to do it, about a year before it went on the air, there was no question in my mind. Now the only question was: Would I run out of resources before it turned the corner? There was no way I could know about that until I went ahead and did it, because I didn't have enough capital to see it through. But in my study of history, Erwin Rommel in the desert never had enough petrol for his offensives against the British to finish them. He had to depend on capturing fuel supplies from the British by attacking so quickly and catching them off guard that they would retreat and leave some petrol for him to finish. It was dicey, and it didn't always work, but I knew that was what I was going to have to do. I was going to have to hit hard and move incredibly fast. And that's what we did: moved so fast that the networks wouldn't have time to respond, because they should have done this, not me, but they didn't have any imagination, or didn't have adequate imagination.
View Interview with Ted Turner
View Biography of Ted Turner
View Profile of Ted Turner
View Photo Gallery of Ted Turner



Desmond Tutu

Nobel Prize for Peace

Archbishop Desmond Tutu: I recall that on one or two occasions, I spoke to some of them and said, "You know, are you aware that if you continue to behave in this way, they will turn their dogs on you, they will whip you, they may detain you without trial, they will torture you in their jails, and they may even kill you?," and it was almost like privata on the part of these kids because almost all of them said, "So what. It doesn't matter if that happens to me, as long as it contributes to our struggle for freedom," and I think 1994, when Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the first democratically elected president, vindicated them. It was the vindication of those 1977 remarkable kids.
View Interview with Desmond Tutu
View Biography of Desmond Tutu
View Profile of Desmond Tutu
View Photo Gallery of Desmond Tutu



Desmond Tutu

Nobel Prize for Peace

Archbishop Desmond Tutu: We received death threats, yes, but you see when you are in a struggle, there are going to have to be casualties, and why should you be exempt? But I often said, "Look, here, God, if I'm doing your work, then you jolly well are going to have to look after me!" And God did God's stuff. But it was -- I mean people prayed. People prayed. You know, there's a wonderful image in the Book of the prophet Zechariah, where he speaks about Jerusalem not having conventional walls, and God says to this overpopulated Jerusalem, "I will be like a wall of fire 'round you." Frequently in the struggle, we experienced a like wall of fire -- people all over the world surrounding us with love. And you know that image of the Prophet Elijah -- he is surrounded by enemies, and his servant is scared, and Elijah says to God, "Open his eyes so that he should see," and God opens the eyes of the servant, and the servant looks, and he sees hosts and hosts and hosts of angels. And the prophet says to him, "You see? Those who are for us are many times more than those against us."
View Interview with Desmond Tutu
View Biography of Desmond Tutu
View Profile of Desmond Tutu
View Photo Gallery of Desmond Tutu



Browse Courage quotes by achiever last name

Previous Page

          

Next Page