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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


John Lewis

Champion of Civil Rights

I heard about Rosa Parks, and I heard Martin Luther King, Jr.'s voice on an old radio, and the words of Dr. King and the action of Rosa Parks inspired me. I followed the drama of the Montgomery bus boycott. We were too poor to have a subscription to the local newspaper -- it was called The Montgomery Advertiser -- so my grandfather had a subscription, and when he would finish reading his paper we would get his paper and read about what was going on in Montgomery and listen to the radio. We didn't have a television then. And Dr. King was so inspiring, so inspiring. I wanted to find a way to get involved in the Civil Rights Movement and become part of it. I would hear him speak. I just felt that he was speaking to me. Like he was saying, "John Lewis, you can do it. You can get involved. You must get involved." And when I got the chance, I got involved.
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John Lewis

Champion of Civil Rights

John Lewis: Well, I was very moved by stories, the history, knowing what happened, how it happened. As a child I would ask a lot of questions of my mother, my father, my grandparents, my great-grandparents, my aunts, the grand-aunts, and they accused me of being nosy, but I was inquisitive. I was eavesdropping a great deal as a child. When my mother's aunt, my grand-aunt would come and visit us, I would go in another room and I would listen. I would listen, and the moment they left the house I would say, "What was that all about? What did y'all mean? What did that word mean? What was it all about?" And sometimes my mother and my grand-aunt, and sometimes my grand-uncles, they would walk the road, down a long road to see them off to their home, and I would walk with them, and I would ask questions on the way back and we had these discussions. And when I was growing up, I was somewhat shy but I grew out of it, because I wanted to know. I had to - if you want to know something you have to ask.
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John Lewis

Champion of Civil Rights

When Rosa Parks said, "No," it changed my life forever, and I've never been the same since. I wanted somehow -- in some way -- to make it to Montgomery. I just wanted to be a part of it. It created a great sense of pride. I felt things were about to change. I knew it was very dangerous because I read about it, I heard about the bombings of the churches, the homes, people being arrested. I had witnessed through news accounts the lynching of Emmett Till. This young teenager from Chicago -- visiting relatives in Mississippi, going to the store -- was accused of whistling or saying something to a white woman, and then later that night, someone coming and grabbing him out of his uncle's house, out of bed, taking him, beating him and throwing him in the river. That all had an impact on me.
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Maya Lin

Artist and Architect

I loved logic, math, computer programming. I loved systems and logic approaches. And so I just figured architecture is this perfect combination. Then it takes me seven years of architecture school to realize that I think like an artist. And even though I build buildings and I pursue my architecture, I pursue it as an artist. I deliberately keep a tiny studio. I will hire firms or cause firms to be hired to work with me. I don't want to be an architectural firm ever. I want to remain as an artist building either sculptures or architectural works. And in a way what I disliked about architecture was probably the profession. I still am an artist. And basically what does that mean? It's much more individual. It's much more about who you are and what you need to make, what you need to say for you. Whether someone's going to look at it or not, you're still going to do it.
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Maya Lin

Artist and Architect

I think art is very tricky because it's what you do for yourself. It's much harder for me to make those works than, in a way, the monuments or the architecture because those have functions. Architecture, the monuments, it's a symbolic function, but it's still you're solving a problem. The architecture, you're definitely making art, but it's surrounded by a problem solving. It's like math. It's a puzzle to me. I love figuring out puzzles. The art work, on the other hand, is, "Go into a room and make whatever you want to make." And it's very, very hard.
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George Lucas

Creator of "Star Wars"

I decided to go to film school because I loved the idea of making films. I loved photography and everybody said it was a crazy thing to do because in those days nobody made it into the film business. I mean, unless you were related to somebody there was no way in. So everybody was thinking I was silly. "You're never going to get a job." But I wasn't moved by that. I set the goal of getting through film school, and just then focused on getting to that level because I didn't -- you know, I didn't know where I was going to go after that. I wanted to make documentary films, and eventually I got into the goal of -- once I got to school -- of making a film. One of the most telling things about film school is you've got a lot of students in those days especially, it's not quite so much today, but - wandering around saying, "Oh, I wish I could make a movie. I wish I could make a move." You know, "I can't get in this class. I can't get any this or that." The first class I had was an animation class. It wasn't a production class. I had a history class and an animation class. And, in the animation class they gave us one minute of film to put onto the animation camera to operate it, to see how you could move left, move right, make it go up and down. It was a test. You had certain requirements that you had to do. You had to make it go up and had to make it go down, and then the teacher would look at it and say, "Oh yes, you maneuvered this machine to do these things." I took that one minute of film and made it into a movie, and it was a movie that won like, you know twenty or twenty-five awards in every film festival in the world and kind of changed the whole animation department. Meanwhile all the other guys were going around saying, "Oh, I wish I could make a movie. I wish I was in a production class." So then I got into another class and it wasn't really a production class but I managed to get some film and I made a movie. And, I made lots of movies while in school while everybody else was running around saying, "Oh, I wish I could make a movie. I wish they'd give me some film."
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George Lucas

Creator of "Star Wars"

I was always extremely curious about why people did the things they do. I was always very interested in what motivates people and in telling stories and building things. I've always been very into building things. Whether it was chess sets or houses or cars or whatever. I liked to put things together. When I was young, from at least my teenage years they were completely devoted to cars. That was the most important thing in my life from about the ages of 14 to 20.
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George Lucas

Creator of "Star Wars"

George Lucas: Everybody has talent and it's just a matter of moving around until you've discovered what it is. A talent is a combination of something you love a great deal and something you can lose yourself in -- something that you can start at 9 o'clock, look up from your work and it's 10 o'clock at night -- and also something that you have a talent, not a talent for, but skills that you have a natural ability to do very well. And usually those two things go together.
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George Lucas

Creator of "Star Wars"

I think one of the reasons that Steven (Spielberg) and I have been as successful as we have is because we like the movies. We like to go to the movies. We enjoy movies and we want to make movies like the ones we enjoy. We want to be able to entertain the audience. We want to be able to startle the audience. We want to be able to blow the audience away and say -- have them walk out of the theater saying, "Whoa, that was fantastic, I was really moved by that." That's where part of the fun of it is. And, you know, you want people to think. You want people to be emotionally moved. And there's a theory behind that in terms of storytelling. It has been around for thousands of years. And that's where something like live theater or a live performance is something that is very valuable because you get instant feedback from your audience and you kind of know the things that work and the things that don't work. That's the advantage that the Greek storytellers had and Shakespeare had, that us in the film industry are -- that's harder to come by. Which is to be able to see an audience reaction and then adjust to what works. So you have to use your experience of sitting through a lot of movies.
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