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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


Olivia de Havilland

Legendary Leading Lady

A man presented himself in uniform, a Major, and he introduced himself. He said, "I'm Major Richardson, and I am in charge of the psychiatric ward here. I was in charge at Bellevue, previous to my Army service, in New York City. I have a theory. It's an experiment I would like you to agree to, that if you visited my patients, your visit would do some good. Would you agree?" And I said, "Well, of course, I would." He said, "I have to have the post surgeon, the head of the hospital's, approval first, and I will come back and meet you between wards to let you know if I have received it." Well, he met me between wards, and he said, "I've got the permission. So, at the end of your day -- I've read your orders, I know exactly what time and at what ward you will finish. I will come and get you," or "I'll send for you. You have nothing to worry about. I will have two very sturdy orderlies to protect you." Well, I hadn't worried before then, but I certainly began at that moment to worry. To protect?
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Michael Dell

Founder & Chairman, Dell Inc.

I kind of moved into a larger apartment that had really high ceilings so I could kind of stack things up and managed to conceal it from them for quite some time. And then I basically came to an arrangement with my parents. I said, "Look, I really want to go do this, and I know you don't want me to go do it, but I've checked with the University of Texas, and the way it works at UT is that you could take a semester off and you can come back." And so I said, "We'll, we'll agree to this. I'll take the semester off -- the fall of '84 semester -- and I'll go and do this. If it doesn't work out, I'll go back to school, and if it does I'll just keep doing it." And so they agreed. If they hadn't agreed, I probably would've done it anyway to be honest with you. So in May of '84, I incorporated the company and off we go.
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Michael Dell

Founder & Chairman, Dell Inc.

They would kind of hear from their friends, "Oh, Michael's doing so great. His business is going really well." And they were like, "What are you talking about? He's supposed to be in college." They had a couple of kind of surprise visits. They would just kind of show up, you know, like, "Where are your books?" "Oh, they're at the library." I'd sort of have good answers for things, and they couldn't quite figure it all out. But eventually they kind of figured out, "Wait a second. There's too many computer parts around here." It was a bit hard to disguise what was going on. So that's when we had this talk.
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Michael Dell

Founder & Chairman, Dell Inc.

Michael Dell: I think you have to be able to experiment and make mistakes. I find the question a bit perplexing, in a sense that if you really don't know what it means to be an entrepreneur, maybe you aren't one. So I think there's a bit of self-initiative and self-starter that is an incredibly important part of entrepreneurship. I mean, no one can tell you how to do it. You have to sort of have an instinctual feeling, or an idea about something. And you've got to be passionate about it. I think people that look for great ideas to make money aren't nearly as successful as those who say, "Okay, what do I really love to do? What am I excited about? What do I know something about? What's kind of interesting and compelling?"
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David Herbert Donald

Two Pulitzer Prizes for Biography

I started teaching in Columbia in the influx of GIs from World War II, and they needed extra people. So they had hired me, and I liked it there, and it turned out that they liked me, and the students liked me. So again, I thought of this as a very temporary kind of thing. Mrs. Randall kept the letters I wrote during those years, and one of them says, "You know, I am enjoying New York a lot, and I like living here, but I can't imagine living here for any length of time." I assumed that when my two-year contract was over that I'd go back maybe to Jacksonville, Illinois, but they needed people, and apparently, I filled the bill. I still was so uncertain about the future though, that when Smith College was looking for a professor and they wrote down to Columbia and asked if I'd be interested, I said yes. So I resigned at Columbia and went off to Smith. The people at Columbia were baffled by this. They said, "Why would you leave Columbia to go to Smith?" I said, "Well, I don't belong in Columbia. You know that. I'm very different from the rest of you. I'm going to Smith," and they were angry that I had spurned them, so to speak. I went to Smith, and while I liked the students individually, it clearly was not for me, and in the second year there, I was fortunate enough to be asked would I go to Princeton, would I go to Yale, or would I come back to Columbia, and I didn't know Princeton or Yale. I thought I'll go back to Columbia where at least they know who I am, and so I went back to Columbia and at that point decided, okay, I guess I'm going to make a career as a historian and tried to do so.
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