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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


James Michener

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novelist

I am right now in the middle of a difficult writing project. And it's just as difficult now as when I started. But when I get up in the morning I am really qualified to say, "Well, Jim, it isn't going too well, but there is nobody on the block who is better able to wrestle with it than you are, so lets get on with it." I do say that.
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James Michener

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novelist

James Michener: A fundamental difference between other people and me is that when I start a project, I know it's going to take at least three years. So two things ensue. One, it has to be a pretty good idea to keep me excited for three years. And two, I have to have a pretty good head of steam just to keep going physically and mentally for three years. I work every day of the week. I get up early and go right to the typewriter. And I have to take time out for research or a trip here or there or for my professional obligations. But I work every day. And if any one of us listening to this program were to work ten hours a day, seven days a week, for three years, I would expect something to come out of it. Especially, if you had a pretty good education to begin with, and you had some help from your friends, and review point of view from your editors and colleagues, and the company you are working for, so I don't think that what I do is at all remarkable. It's the result of three, four, five years of intelligent application. And fortunately, I've been able to do that and recommend it to everybody else.
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Norman Mineta

Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation

One of the things about people in politics is that they get their sights set when they're at this point of where they want to be at some point in the future, and they start making decisions here on how they think that will be helpful to get them to this point -- here. The problem is, they generally will trip over something right in front of them because they have their sights set on something way over here, and that is something I haven't done. I have always worked hard at the job I'm at, and then really you're in control, because if an opportunity comes up, then you are in control of saying "Yes, I want to do this," or "No, I don't want to go this direction." But if you have already planned your steps on what you are going to do and how you are going to get there, then you're on somebody else's time scale and somebody else's track, and you're just moving about trying to adjust based on what you think will get you to the next step. So one of the things, as I reflect back, is I've always worked hard at the job I'm at, and that will always open up opportunities for the future, and rather than being set like a robot to get somewhere in a certain time period.
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George Mitchell

Presidential Medal of Freedom

George Mitchell: I was an insurance adjuster. I had been involved in U.S. intelligence in Berlin, Germany, while in the military and had worked with a contact with the Central Intelligence Agency office there. And the director of that office liked me and made arrangements for me to have an interview at the CIA in Washington when I left the service. But that took quite a long time. It was a very long process, and I literally had no money, so I had to get a job right away. So I went and read the papers, read the want ads, applied for a job, and was hired all in one day. And I spent that time working as an insurance adjuster and going to law school in the evening, and then when I left law school, I joined the Department of Justice in Washington.
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George Mitchell

Presidential Medal of Freedom

I worked all through college. I drove a truck in college. I worked in advertising. From my parents, I learned a very strong work ethic, and all of my brothers and sisters all worked from the earliest days of life right through to the present time. So it wasn't really anything out of the ordinary. It was difficult. It was demanding. But I accepted it as part of life.
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George Mitchell

Presidential Medal of Freedom

The governor of Maine, Joe Brennan, called me. He was and is a good friend. And to my surprise and to the complete surprise of all the people of Maine, he appointed me to complete Senator Muskie's unexpired term. At the time, most people thought I was crazy, because the record of appointed senators seeking election is not good, and I was considered a dead duck. There were two very popular members of the House of Representatives, both Republicans, who immediately announced plans to run against me, and they both published opinion polls which showed them respectively 36 and 33 percentage points ahead of me in the polls. And one of the Democrats who wanted to run was a former governor. He published a poll showing that he was 22 points ahead of me in the contest for the nomination. So it was an awfully tough couple of years. Most people thought I had no chance, and stories were written about me in the past tense, and for a while it was tough to keep going. But things worked out, and I was fortunate enough to be reelected, and then later to be reelected by a very large margin.
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