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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

Amy Tan

Best-Selling Novelist

Amy Tan: I reached a point where I had infuriated my mother so much we nearly killed each other. Literally. And I was sick to my stomach, literally. I had dry heaves, and the pain was so enormous that at one point, when I thought I was going to die, I just suddenly realized that that scared me. And it was scary to live but it was scarier to die. I remember just saying, "I want to live, I want to live, I want to live." Some strength -- it's hard to describe what it is, you know? You just start to pull through.
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Amy Tan

Best-Selling Novelist

Amy Tan: I didn't fear failure. I expected failure. I think I've always been somebody, since the deaths of my father and brother, who was afraid to hope. So, I was more prepared for failure and for rejection than success. The success took me by surprise and it frightened me. On the day that there was a publication party for my book, I spent the whole day crying. I was scared out of my mind that my life was changing and it was out of my control and I didn't know why it was happening. I thought it would ruin things, because at that moment in my life I was fairly happy. I was getting along with my mother. My husband and I had been married for a long time, we were happy, we had our first house, we had great friends, we were doing well, we weren't starving. We had a comfortable living and I thought, "Things are going to get messed up here and I have no control over this." I could already see how people were treating me differently. That's the scary thing. You know, when people say, "How has success changed you?" you have to say, "No. How have people changed toward you as the result of success?" And "How have you dealt with that change in how people have changed toward you?" That's the most difficult thing.
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Kiri Te Kanawa

Beloved Opera Singer

I just went like a mad thing through the front door. And everyone was there. Of course, it's once again the circus. That "bzzzz" that's going on. And there's every man and his dog is there trying to give you information. And there's the director trying to do something and the conductor's there. Of course, Jimmy's there. And Jon Vickers is there. And they're all there. And you think, "Shut up and get out!" And I just said, "I just need time." So somehow people threw a wig on me and some makeup and we were on. We're on the number 52 bus to heaven. So it was like that. It was just this absolute panic. And then I got through the first act. And I thought, "Thank God!" And you know, no one -- none of my family -- my singing teacher was going to be there in a few weeks to come and see my first performance. And my husband, who was then, was going to come. And all my friends were going to come. And I couldn't get them, because it was snowing. And it was just -- it was impossible. So I went on, the loneliest person in the world.
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Wayne Thiebaud

Painter and Teacher

Wayne Thiebaud: Pies and cakes and the hot dogs, those things. So Allan also -- Allan Stone, the dealer -- was very puzzled by them, and it took him a year or two to get to a point of saying, "Before I got the courage to show the damn thing," was the way he put it. And that's quite a mark of his ability and loyalty, to take me on and see what he could do. We didn't have very many hopes. He said to me, "I think you're a good painter. I don't know about these, but we'll show them and we'll show them. I'll try to get a plan of about five to ten years where we keep showing things of yours in the hope you gain a kind of clientele." And that's what we did. So it was a big shock to find that, serendipitously, pop art came in, and we were sort of shunted into that sudden interesting world, that is, interesting to critics and interesting to people. And that's how really it occurred.
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