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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


Sonny Rollins

Greatest Living Jazz Soloist

In the musical realm, I had Coleman Hawkins. After Louis Jordan, I began to gravitate to a more sophisticated -- I might put it that way -- not comparing the two, but Coleman Hawkins had a more intellectual approach maybe to music. He played a lot of very difficult things. So he really became my idol. I wanted to play tenor, and had alto before. So anyway, in the musical field, I would say those were my early idols -- saxophone. I always loved Fats Waller, because I heard him as a boy, and I just loved anything he did.
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Sonny Rollins

Greatest Living Jazz Soloist

Sonny Rollins: Once I started, when I was around eight years old or so, I knew that's what I wanted to be. I wanted to be a musician. So I kept playing, I was really at it. You know, there is one thing about me, I was a guy that would practice. Once I started practicing, my mother had to call me to stop practicing. "Come and eat dinner!" Because I was in my own world, and I am like that up to this day really, except that I am older now, and I can't practice like 15 hours a day, but I still have the same inclination and same spirit. But I kept at it, and by the time I was about 14, I guess, we got a little neighborhood band. Then, by the time I was 17, we had a neighborhood band, and I was beginning to get recognized by some of the older people, older musicians. Then, by 18, I made my first recordings. So I was straight, I was on that track. I was on the track to be a professional from that early age, from eight years old I would say.
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Sonny Rollins

Greatest Living Jazz Soloist

If a young person that's a scientist, or wants to be a musician, wants to be a painter, sculptor, and you love it, then, give yourself to it, that's all. This is the only way to do it, that's its own reward really. And if you succeed, I don't know. It's a matter of what you just said, "What is success?" I don't know, but giving yourself to something you believe in, that is success. So I would tell people to really get with what you are doing, with abandon, do your thing and really want to do it, and believe in it, and block out the rest of the world, because you are the world. You are the world, not these other people around you. Your project, your love, your art, that's the world. That's where you have to be.
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Anthony Romero

Executive Director, ACLU

Anthony Romero: From when I was a little boy, I always knew I wanted to be an attorney. I don't know why. There is no attorney in my family. My father was a waiter and my mother stayed at home and I'm the first of my family to finish high school. But somehow I always got it in my mind that I would be a lawyer. Perhaps it was because I was argumentative, because I always spoke my mind, perhaps because I never really understood the rules of the nuns in Catholic school, was always questioning them. Over time it just kind of stuck with me, that I would be a lawyer. Later on in life I understood the role the law would play in social justice and that we would be change agents for people. I saw that it could make a real difference in people's lives, and that's really where I understood the importance of being an attorney for issues, for causes, for people, for ideals. So I don't know, maybe it was in my DNA from the beginning, but I always knew I wanted to be an advocate for change.
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Anthony Romero

Executive Director, ACLU

Anthony Romero: The struggle for civil rights and civil liberties is really a very basic one. It's one we all understand. We have the right to live with dignity. Each of us -- regardless of who we are, or what background we come from, or what religion or what race -- have a right to determine how we think about the world, what we say, whom we love, who we associate ourselves with. It's the ability to tap into that most beautiful part of the human experience, of saying, "I decide what I want to be and what I do and what I say and what I think." We all feel that, we all feel the sense of personality, of individuality, and the idea then that there are barriers that impede our ability to live our lives fully, there are barriers that impede our ability to be all we can be. That's what we do, we remove the barriers, we remove the blocks. It's about taking every person whose life is precious and making sure that they can make the most of it as they wish. That's, in the end, what we do every day.
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James Rosenquist

Pop Art Master

I tried for a scholarship at the Art Students League by sending in drawings. And they wrote me a letter: "Dear James, we are happy to announce that we will give you one year's free schooling at the Art Students League." And I found myself in New York in the fall of 1955 with $350 bucks in my pocket and a room at the YMCA. I checked in to the Art Students League, and I studied with old-timers there -- Edwin Dickinson, George Grosz, Morris Kantor, Vaclav Vytlacil, all those old boys there. That was really an introduction to a private art which was fine art. Where drawing and painting could be applied to advertising, and to whatever, television, whatever, but a really private gesture would be -- a secret, private gesture -- would be your own idea, your own compositions that you enjoyed yourself. And to do something, to paint something or draw something or do something, to prove to oneself that you actually had the idea, would seem to be the important. Otherwise, the idea remained a concept, and no one could understand what you were thinking. So I think it was really like -- not a self-analysis -- but it's really thinking you have some strange, unusual idea and can talk about it and talk about it, but it doesn't mean anything unless you actually can see something physical about that. So that's what that meant to me at that time.
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James Rosenquist

Pop Art Master

I remember the pure -- just the feeling of having things around in my studio that I liked, and I really didn't want to sell them, back in 1960 and '61. That was my environment that I made, and it didn't take much money to live, but I never thought that I could ever have enough money to get married, to own a car. Maybe a car, but not a house or anything like that. I know there was a question that I thought you were going to ask me about. Did I think that I would as successful as I am, or whatever? And I certainly didn't think so, because I didn't know how to qualify success. I didn't know. Success to me was just to be able to understand. Success was a very, very private matter, of having the wherewithal to very simply express an idea.
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