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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


Maya Lin

Artist and Architect

For me what the Vietnam memorial had to be was about honesty, about dealing up front with individual loss. You know, it turns out it was also a requirement by the veterans to list the 57,000 names. Now, you've got ask again, this is probably the first time where the group of veterans have requested it. We're reaching a time in -- it's almost a modern time -- that we'll acknowledge the individual in a war on a national level, rather than what has happened in previous wars throughout history was always a political statement by the winning leader about the victory. The foot soldier didn't count, except in World War I memorials which I had studied and realized -- The effect they had, they were so moving, was because they focused on individual loss. But I think that is the definition of a modern approach to war, the acknowledgement of individual lives lost.
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Maya Lin

Artist and Architect

I've had very few free standing projects. And I'm working on one right now, a bakery for the Grayston Foundation. They're a not for profit group that build housing for the homeless, AIDS hospices. This one bakery in particular hires, at times, people out of prison, but also other people in sort of economically hard neighborhoods. And I am drawn to institutional, not-for profit-museums, educational. I did a library for the Children's Defense Fund. I'm working on a chapel for them. I'm interested in keeping the balance between the art and the architecture. And I think that is the goal, to keep it up, to build, make more works, see where I go with it, not lose one to the other.
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George Lucas

Creator of "Star Wars"

I kept getting phone calls from producers saying, "I hear you're great." I had made a film called THX, which had no story and no character really. It was kind of an avant-garde film. And so I had all these producers calling me saying, "I hear you're really good at material that doesn't have a story. I've got a record album I want you to make into a movie." Or, you know, things like that. And they were offering me a lot of money and -- but they were terrible projects. And so I had to constantly turn down vast sums of money while I was starving, writing a screenplay for free that I didn't like to write because I hated writing. But, I did finish it. I did write the screenplay and eventually I got a deal to make the movie. And then after I finally got that, then my friends came back in and did a rewrite on it, but it was a very dark period, and I could have very easily just taken the money and gone off and done one of these really terrible movies. I don't know what that would have done for my career, but you know, when the times are hard like that you simply have to say, "This is what I want to do. I want to make my movie. I don't want to take the money." And you just walk forward, step by step and get through it somehow. And I got through. It actually only took me about three weeks to write that script. I just every day would sit down at eight o'clock in the morning and I'd write until about eight o'clock at night. And I just said, "I'm going to finish this, as painful as it is, and I'm going to ignore these phone calls of lure of riches and get through this. And somehow I did it.
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George Lucas

Creator of "Star Wars"

Here you've spent your whole life just begging, and using every means at your disposal to get one person or two people to say 'yes' to your project or to say, "Yes, I'll do this. Yes," you know? And then suddenly everybody says yes. Suddenly everybody wants you to do everything and anything you want. Then you have to start learning how to say 'no' -- and tons of opportunities coming your way. Wonderful opportunities, but you can't do them all. If you start doing them all, your life gets very unfocused. You get overwhelmed and you collapse, basically. And your feelings of invincibility and stuff sort of turn into a morass of depression and -- I've seen it happen to a lot of people and I went through it myself. It's just unavoidable if you're successful. And no matter how much you think you can deal with it, you can't.
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George Lucas

Creator of "Star Wars"

I've discovered that most critics themselves are cinematically illiterate. They don't really know much about movies. They don't know the history. They don't know the technology. They don't know anything. So for them to try to analyze it, they're lost. But your friends usually know what they're doing and they can critique the technical side of things to say, "This doesn't work. You know, you're putting the cart before the horse." This kind of stuff. And then the rest of it is what you like, you know. It's personal, you know. It's in the eye of the beholder. You know, "I like this movie. I don't like this movie." There are a lot of movies that are badly made that I love, and there are a lot of movies that are just beautifully made but I don't like them. And critics have a tendency - that's all they focus on, which is, "I like it. I don't like it. It's good. It's bad." And it doesn't work that way, and so you really have to not deal with that part of what happens. It's the same thing with the audience. You know, I've made some movies that have -- ten people have gone to see. Nobody wanted to go see the movie. And some films that the people went and saw them didn't like it. Probably, you know, maybe a half a dozen of us actually liked the movies, but that's fine. If I like it, then I'm happy with it. And you have to sort of accept that no matter what. If nobody else likes it. You're not going to stay in business, the business of making movies very long because you need the resources in order to keep going. So you have to try and find a niche audience or some kind of audience that has the same likes, dislikes and aesthetic sensibilities that you have.
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George Lucas

Creator of "Star Wars"

George Lucas: I think that's the advantage that my generation has. When we were in film school and we were starting in the film business, the door was absolutely locked. It was a very, very high wall, and nobody got in. Therefore, all of us beggars and scroungers down at the front gate decided that if we didn't band together, we wouldn't survive. If one could make it, that one would help all the others make it. And we would continue to help each other. So we banded together. That's how cavemen figured it out. Any society starts that way. Any society begins by realizing that together, by helping each other, you can survive better than if you fight each other and compete with each other.
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George Lucas

Creator of "Star Wars"

If I got a job, I would help somebody else get a job. If somebody got more successful than me, it was partly my success. My success wasn't based on how I could push down everybody that was around me. My success was based on how much I could push everybody up. And eventually their success was the same way. And in the process they pushed me up, and I pushed them up, and we kept doing that, and we still do that. Even though we all have, in essence, competing companies, we see it as, if everybody succeeds, if my friend succeeds then everybody succeeds. So that's the key to it, to have everybody succeed, not to gloat over somebody else's failure.
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George Lucas

Creator of "Star Wars"

After a lot of struggling and sort of reflection I realized that the time you have to give is now, regardless of how old you are. It's kind of a realization because one is kind of -- "You mean I'm in that position already?" It's sort of a way of saying, "Oh my gosh, I'm one of them! I'm one of those old guys that gives libraries to schools and things, and here I am, only 20 or 27." And I think I've seen again a lot of people go through this, who are working so hard, they wake up one day and realize that those things that they said, "I'll do that someday, I'll do that someday." Well, that someday is today. And if you have the means to do it, then this is the time to do it. And it's a little hard to do when you're building up your nest egg so to speak, your security blanket, to give it away. You know, my feeling is if you can't give the time away, you should give part of your resources away.
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Paul MacCready

Engineer of the Century

I don't think of myself as especially competitive, and I sometimes wonder about competitions and how they motivate people. I don't have a lot of answers, but the competitions are great things for coordinating people's interests. It doesn't matter whether there is a money prize, or just a trophy. People get together and do compete, and share, and it may not matter who wins. If you are in a contest, there is always some motivation towards trying to win, but the real value is just entering in the competition.
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