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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


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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Mario Molina

Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Mario Molina: In terms of this issue of these industrial gases affecting the environment, at the beginning the road was not easy, because we were suggesting that society had to change, that industries had to do something different than they were doing at that time. And of course, initially we did not meet with a good reception to these ideas from industry. And even from the scientific community -- even though our ideas were well received in the small group of specialists in what we were doing -- it was not necessarily well received by the scientific community at large. So we really had to continue doing as good a science as we could, and at the same time trying to well communicate our conviction that it was something important, something that had to change in the way society was functioning.
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Mario Molina

Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Mario Molina: I remember in some scientific meetings, again, arguing about the uncertainties of the problem. And there was not that much disagreement in terms of the science itself with our industry colleagues. It was more either in the public relations arena, or else in terms of whether to advise society to do something about it or not. I remember very well my attitude at that time was that, at the very least, industry should do some research on potential replacements for these compounds. At the same time, of course, we had to know more about the atmosphere, but we had to begin thinking about the possibility of regulating these chemicals. And that's of course what industry was opposed to do at the beginning, because they wanted more scientific evidence. But eventually we came together on what the scientific evidence indeed was. Very clear. We started to work in a collaborative mode, and that's what made it possible to reach these international agreements, the Montreal Protocol and so on, on a very short time scale.
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Mario Molina

Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Mario Molina: I remember, of course, I had great difficulties when I first went to Germany. German's a difficult language, and just knowing Spanish was not particularly helpful, so I actually spent quite a bit of time with the language. I eventually became very proud of being able to participate even in discussions about politics with my German friends. Then eventually, I spent some time in France. French was a lot easier. In fact, I remember also in Germany that the first language I learned was Italian, because it was so much easier for me, and I have some Italian friends, although I forgot most of it now. So by the time I came to the United States, of course I knew English only from high school, and from text books, but I certainly couldn't speak it. But I didn't devote nearly as much energy learning English as I did learning German. I guess I was lazy after that much time with the other languages! But it was so much easier, I guess. So I still regret not having spent more time, in first becoming a graduate student in the United States, with the language itself. But it was so time-consuming to keep up with the science that I just picked up whatever came in terms of the language.
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