Academy of Achievement Logo
Home
Achiever Gallery
Keys to Success
   + [ Passion ]
 Vision
 Preparation
 Courage
 Perseverance
 Integrity
 The American Dream
Achievement Podcasts
About the Academy
For Teachers

Search the site

Academy Careers

 
 
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


Audra McDonald

Six Tony Awards

Audra McDonald: For me, I am constantly forcing myself to evolve, because, I think, to stagnate creatively -- there's a certain death that happens with that. Because if you're not moving forward and you're not evolving, you're devolving, and I don't want to go backwards. I want to be better at what I do tomorrow than I am today. I don't want to be worse. It may be in a different way, or maybe I've turned a corner and tried a different part of a career, or maybe I'll take my big mouth and maybe do something at a more political level somewhere down the road, or teach or something like that. But it has to be a constant sense of evolution. Yeah, I equate it with death.
View Interview with Audra McDonald
View Biography of Audra McDonald
View Profile of Audra McDonald
View Photo Gallery of Audra McDonald



Audra McDonald

Six Tony Awards

Audra McDonald: It's an incredible rush, especially the live aspect of it. It's easy to spend -- especially in this day and age -- to spend your time not being in the present. It's very easy to be way ahead. What's tomorrow and the day after that? Or fixated on something in the past, or virtually somewhere else. Whatever, watching a football game online, whatever, just not being. And the one thing about live performance and what makes it so scary is all you have is that moment. You must be in that moment. You cannot be ahead of it, you cannot be behind it. You can be making sure you're aware of what you have to do next, but regardless, that moment forces you to be in the present. And that's a rush. It's something that a lot of people run from, because it can be scary. But that's also where life happens, I think. And so for me it's -- maybe I'm an addict. I'm addicted to that rush. I'm also addicted to those moments when you're on stage and the audience is so quiet you could hear a pin drop and you realize that you're in communion. That's an incredible experience. That's a cosmic experience, as far as I'm concerned, without getting way out there. But you feel the communion of the collective consciousness in that moment when you're on stage doing something and the audience is absolutely with you. And the audience becomes a collective entity as well. They come in from separate places and socio-economic backgrounds, and places across the world and days that they've had, and then they come together and they become one collective thing, and experience something in a collective way. That's a powerful, powerful thing to experience. So I'm definitely addicted to that, too.
View Interview with Audra McDonald
View Biography of Audra McDonald
View Profile of Audra McDonald
View Photo Gallery of Audra McDonald



Audra McDonald

Six Tony Awards

This sounds like terrible grammar, but I want to do. I want to do the singing, I want to do the acting, I want to do the concertizing. I want to do the plays. I want to do the musicals. I want to become a great artist. This sounds really cheesy, but if ever there was an award that I would want to win some day, it would be like a Kennedy Center honor. That would mean to me that I've amassed a body of work that has not only sort of affected the arts and made an impact on the arts, but that's a large enough body of work and a varied enough body of work and a lengthy enough body of work that it deserves an honor. That to me is like, that would be a great goal. But if that were to happen someday, which would be amazing if it did, then next day I would still be like, "Okay, cool. Now, I've never been able to sing this note really comfortably. I should figure out how to really " You know what I mean? There's always more to learn.
View Interview with Audra McDonald
View Biography of Audra McDonald
View Profile of Audra McDonald
View Photo Gallery of Audra McDonald



William McRaven

The Art of Warfare

William McRaven: I had an opportunity at Naval Postgraduate School to do some thinking about special operations. And more importantly, I had an opportunity to travel to Europe and interview some of the great special operators of World War II and also kind of post-World War II. Most of them were still alive. They were in their 70s -- early 70s to early 80s -- and the folks I interviewed were still very sharp and remembered the missions they went on as though they were yesterday. So having an opportunity to sit down with these phenomenal officers and enlisted who had been part of some of the great operations in special operations history was just incredibly educational for me. But I remember as I was interviewing Herr Witzig, who was a German officer, about the raid on Eben-Emael, which was a very famous German raid into Belgium that secured a very difficult fort with a small number of folks. But in the course of my questioning for him, he said, "Well, you are developing a theory here, yes?" And at the time I was actually just trying to cull out the principles of special operations, much like the broader principles of war. But when he touched on the idea that you were developing a theory, I thought, "I think he is on to something." So I went back and really spent about another six to eight months to figure out how do I take the principles and turn them into a real theory about why special operations succeed. Not just the principles, but why do they succeed, how can you -- not analytically, but kind of intellectually -- take a look at a special operation ahead of time and say, "Look, are we going to achieve this thing I call 'relative superiority' in a timely enough manner and long enough to be able to accomplish the mission?" So it was a wonderful, passionate effort on my part to just kind of find this out. And fortunately, the book got a lot of traction with some of the younger officers, and I'm pleased to see that it got such a wide read.
View Interview with William McRaven
View Biography of William McRaven
View Profile of William McRaven
View Photo Gallery of William McRaven



William McRaven

The Art of Warfare

There is this perception that -- it's not to say we in the special operations community don't have a swagger. You have to have a swagger, you have to be confident. But when you sit down to do a mission, you have got to do the detail planning. You have to do the detail rehearsals. You have to be physically fit and mentally prepared. And that doesn't happen by accident. That happens through very difficult training and appropriate preparation. So anybody's belief that you can go do a complicated special operation in a cavalier manner has never been in the business. To be a really good special operator, you've got to care about the details.
View Interview with William McRaven
View Biography of William McRaven
View Profile of William McRaven
View Photo Gallery of William McRaven



William McRaven

The Art of Warfare

William McRaven: The young men that join the SEALs or the Army Green Berets or the Rangers, there is a sense of adventure about them and there is a sense of confidence about them. Ninety-nine percent of the people that come through training have played in some sort of sport. So we had, in my class I had a lot of swimmers and rugby players and water polo players and football players. And so you have a level of confidence, you have a level of a sense of adventure. So you come into a situation like that and there is -- and of course when you're young you're a little bit cocky. You tell yourself, "There's nothing I can't do. I am the best at what I'm doing." So you challenge yourself, and I think it's true of any endeavor. So I'm not sure that there was this great strength of character. I think it was, fortunately, being young. You come in probably a little bit overconfident, but you also come in physically strong. And you have gone through a process in high school or other places to really build up your, again, your skill set, your sense of adventure, your sense of character that allows you to get through training.
View Interview with William McRaven
View Biography of William McRaven
View Profile of William McRaven
View Photo Gallery of William McRaven



W.S. Merwin

Two Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry

So I had to listen to all of these morning services, and I was allowed to do drawings and things, and then do what I wanted with a little pad and pencil. And I was fascinated by two things. One of them was the language of the King James version of the Bible -- which was different from the language that we spoke -- the language of the psalms. There was a whole lot of the Bible that I got to know by heart without even thinking about it, and the language of the hymns: "the spacious firmament on high" and "the blue ethereal sky." I didn't know what half of the words meant, thought it was wonderful, you know. It's funny, the way it rhymed, and so I wanted to write that. And my mother read to us, which is very important. She read Stevenson's Child's Garden of Verses and she read Tennyson, "The Brook," and a lot of poems like that. And that's wonderful when parents read -- not just stories -- but poems to their children, because the language of poetry is different from the language of prose, and children pick up that language. And if they can pick it up very early, it's really very, very important. They are likely to always love it if they do. I suspect that they really naturally do.
View Interview with W.S. Merwin
View Biography of W.S. Merwin
View Profile of W.S. Merwin
View Photo Gallery of W.S. Merwin



W.S. Merwin

Two Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry

I must have read Robinson Crusoe four or five times and Swiss Family Robinson and Treasure Island, all of Stevenson. A book called Ship's Monkey about a ship off to Borneo, and books about American Indians. I really taught myself to read because there was a book about Indians with pictures, a lot of pictures of Indians, and it was a children's book, but it had a text at the bottom of each page and I couldn't read the text. So I asked word by word what the words were until I could read the book about the Indians because I wanted to live in a place like the place they lived in, in the woods. So that taught -- it was two things, I mean learning to read, because of a fascination with people who didn't read and write, that's sort of interesting. And realizing that early that I really wanted to live not in a city, but in the forest.
View Interview with W.S. Merwin
View Biography of W.S. Merwin
View Profile of W.S. Merwin
View Photo Gallery of W.S. Merwin



Browse Passion quotes by achiever last name

Previous Page

          

Next Page