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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

I started a second novel seven times and I had to throw them away. You know, 100 pages here, 200 pages there and I'd say, "Is this what they liked in The Joy Luck Club? Is this the style, is this the story? No, I must write something completely different. I must write no Chinese characters to prove that I'm multi-talented." Or "No, I must write this way in a very erudite way to show I have a way to use big words." It's both rebellion and conformity that attack you with success. It took me a long time to get over that, and just finally being able to breathe again and say, "What's important? Why are you a writer? Why did you write that book in the first place? What did you learn? What did you discover? What was the most rewarding part of that?"
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Amy Tan

Best-Selling Novelist

Writing is an extreme privilege but it's also a gift. It's a gift to yourself and it's a gift of giving a story to someone. What better gift can I give my mother than to finally sit down and listen to her entire story, hour after hour after hour? She's very repetitive. This is hard work, listening to her say the same laments in her life over and over again, but this time asking for more details. Getting this story out, I realized, was a gift that she was giving me. And there was a gift I could give back to her, and it didn't matter what happened to that book afterwards. If it didn't sell a single copy, if it was panned, that whole time I spent writing it, getting to know my mother, getting to know myself, all of it was worth it. Nobody -- no review, no place on a list -- could take that away from me or make it more important than what it already was.
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Julie Taymor

Theater, Opera and Film Director

We had to push to producers to postpone, which is unheard of in opera, they say. But I said, "It's safety. If you don't postpone, I'm not going to back going on that stage, because we have people on high cliffs and mountains and flying in the air, and staircases flying all around. It's too complicated." So later than sooner they decided to postpone the opening and call it two previews -- our premiere was a dress rehearsal. And we haven't had that much time to fix it, but it is definitely running now. Knock on wood. Because who knows? You know, it's human error or computer error.
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Kiri Te Kanawa

Beloved Opera Singer

The reasons that I'm here today is because of the sacrifices of my parents. And I know how much they sacrificed. My father was a very hard worker. He didn't know what was happening to me. My mother didn't really know what was happening to me. But they sacrificed. And I can't tell you how much, because it would go into years and years of what they did do for me. And I look at my children, and I say to them, "You're here because of my father and my mother. Not because of me." I did it. And I said to my son the other day, "I can't actually thank my parents enough because of what they did." And it really, really was. It was huge. They've given me this amazing life, and then I can't even thank them. So all I can do is help. And I think in lots of ways -- with young students, and I'm working with them right now here at the Met -- that is, I suppose, my little bit of payback, if you know what I mean.
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Kiri Te Kanawa

Beloved Opera Singer

My mother had a really tough time when she was young. She came from a very, very poor family. And they all, you know, this is something that she did that was a super thing that did a lot for New Zealand in lots of ways. Because, you know, I am a Maori. And I'm very proud of that and my country is very important to me. Even though I've lived away from it for a very long time. But I've my finger on the button out there all the time. And I want to do what I can, in the way that I can do it, which is helping young students and singers. For them to find their way in life, whatever it might be, but to inspire, would be an achievement for me, to give somebody direction, to inspire them and to get them to a level that they never thought they could ever get to, and I think that's what I like to see.
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