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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


Hilary Swank

Two Oscars for Best Actress

Hilary Swank: I was asked by the Hetrick-Martin Institute to give their yearly award out, right after I had finished filming, and the movie hadn't even come out yet. I went and I presented this award, which is an award that is given to people who have done great things in the gay, lesbian, transgendered community to either raise awareness or funds, or actors who have played roles and brought enlightenment to the community. That's when I learned about it, and I was asked to be the spokesperson. So I have been the spokesperson now, I guess for seven years, and worked closely with the kids there. There's an accredited high school, the Harvey Milk School. I work closely with the school's chancellor in New York City to help expand the school and make it bigger. There's counseling services for the kids and their families. A lot of these kids have been either ostracized from schools or their families and have lived on the street, turned to prostitution, myriad things. So it is wonderful to be their spokesperson and be able to help raise money to give them a safe environment in which to learn and grow and realize their dreams.
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Hilary Swank

Two Oscars for Best Actress

I get wonderful opportunities, but I think when people look at successful people, they think we have everything. But it's really important, and I wish it was something that I was really told when I was younger, that it's always a work in progress, and that you have a choice every day in how you want to live your life. I can wake up and rest on my laurels and say, "Oh, I have achievement, and now I'm just going to travel the world or whatever." That's a choice, but my choice is to continue to do what I love. I love what I do, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to do it. So I wake up in the morning, and I say, "What can I do today to continue to live my dream?" Is it taking a class? Is it traveling? Is it taking a break, so that I don't burn out? Is it going in and fighting for the script that I believe in that they don't see me as? Is it learning more about the business side of it, so that I understand why they make the choices that they do? There's always something to learn, every single day.
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Hilary Swank

Two Oscars for Best Actress

I think that what can happen when people become famous is they really lose touch with people, because you become very insular, and there are reasons for that. There are reasons why you need security at times, and all of that is valid, but it also keeps you from being in touch with what you're trying to do with your craft. I find that sometimes you can watch movies, and you actually see a celebrity instead of an actor, and I just didn't want that to happen. I really didn't want to lose touch with my life as well. I didn't become an actor to become a celebrity. I became an actor, like I told you, to continue to learn about the human experience and about myself, and so I wasn't about to lose touch with that.
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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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