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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


David McCullough

Two Pulitzer Prizes for Biography

I think what we must do in education, for example, is to bring the lab techniques used in science to the teaching of the humanities, to the teaching of history, and English, and journalism, and the arts. That's the great thing about the arts. You don't learn to paint, except by painting. You don't learn to play the piano, except by playing the piano. By the same token, I think you become an historian, I think you become a scholar by being required to do original scholarly work, original detective work of a kind that's involved with doing scholarly research. And once you do that, once you get on that track, you catch the bug, and you find out that this is really exciting.
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David McCullough

Two Pulitzer Prizes for Biography

Time and place. You, all of us, each of us, is limited to how much time we have on Earth by the biological clock. Now do we want, therefore, to have the experience of being alive constrained to that time only? No. It would be like saying, "You live there. You must stay in that one spot where you are in space all of your life." So you are no more required to stay in one spot in time than you are in space and that time travel you can do is in history. It's in the past, which is the larger experience of humankind on Earth. And the past isn't just history in the usual literal sense. It's music, art, history. It's culture, language, culture, and you can experience all of that, the more you know, because you can go back as far as you want, out as far as you want, and suddenly you're infinitely more alive, and that's what history is about. History is about life, about people.
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David McCullough

Two Pulitzer Prizes for Biography

I try to do the research, up to maybe the point where I think 60-some percent of it is done, and then I begin writing. And it's in the writing that you begin to find out what you need to know, and what you don't know, and it's perhaps circumstantial, but I don't think so. I try to write four good pages a day. That's double space, typewritten pages. I still work on a typewriter, a manual typewriter, because I love the feeling of making something with my hands. Maybe it's because I started out as a painter and a sculptor. I like the feeling of working physically with my hands, and I also like the idea that if there is a power failure, or if something happens, that I won't be unplugged. I can keep working. I am the power source, not that plug in the wall. And, I love it when you swing the bar, and that little bell rings. It's like an old trolley car. And I also am superstitious about many things concerned with the craft, and I think I find most writers are -- many much more so than I am. And, I've written all my books on that typewriter, and it probably has 250,000 miles on it now.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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