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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


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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Benazir Bhutto

Former Prime Minister of Pakistan

One of the moments was when my father died and I had my -- before he died, I had my last meeting with him, in the death cell, and he said that, "You have suffered so much." I had been in prison myself, and he said, "You are so young. You just finished your university. You came back. You had your whole life and look at the terror under which we have lived." So he said, "I set you free. Why don't you go and live in London or Paris or Switzerland or Washington, and you are well taken care of, and have some happiness because you have seen too much suffering." I reached out through the prison bars, and I remember grasping his hands and saying, "No, papa, I will continue the struggle that you began for democracy."
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Benazir Bhutto

Former Prime Minister of Pakistan

Benazir Bhutto: His (my father's) execution changed that, because I felt I just couldn't let his blood, and the blood of all those others who had died -- because the dictator hanged so many people who were supportive of him. And they were coming on the streets to have him freed, and he'd have them whiplashed or hanged, and I thought they all did so much and he did so much, and how can we let the dictator win and let all this blood go to waste? So it was really at that time a sense of vindicating them rather than having my own agenda. I did believe in democracy but later on I developed an independent agenda of my own.
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Benazir Bhutto

Former Prime Minister of Pakistan

It was when I was in prison and everyone was cut off from me, my family, my friends, food, even couldn't get a glass of water without having to beg somebody for it who came twice a day with my food, and no ice. I mean, the ordinary things, in the heat of the summer where you can open the fridge and take -- nothing. I had nothing. They cut everything -- took everything away. Material, physical, everything. And suddenly I realized they can take everyone away. I couldn't read newspapers. They wouldn't give me newspapers or Time magazine. So suddenly I realized that they can't take God away from me. So to pass the time I started passing it in prayer. So from that moment I realized that God is always with one, so what gave me the faith and sustenance was my belief that God places a burden on people to bear and He places only that burden which they can bear.
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Elizabeth Blackburn

Nobel Prize in Medicine

I feel very fortunate, because even in high school I kind of knew it was biology. I knew that was what fascinated me, and I pretty much knew that it was going to be something, as I saw it, looking deep into how these things really work -- which then was called biochemistry, and then became more molecular and more cell biology with the years. So I went through high school knowing fairly much that this would be where I would go, perhaps not even thinking about it all that much. I just kind of fortunately knew, but in Australia, socially, there was very much a strong sense that women didn't do certain kinds of careers. I was in high school once when somebody said -- this was an adult, not my teacher but some other teacher -- said, "What's a nice girl like you doing going into science?" I just remember that vividly. I didn't lash out at this person, because I kind of socially didn't know how to do that, but I just remember thinking, "That's interesting, and I'm not going to basically have any interaction with that person anymore." Because this person didn't seem to get that this was something that I cared about.
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