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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


Sam Donaldson

ABC News Correspondent

I threw everything I owned into a car and I went to New York City, because I just knew that New York was ready for me, and that they would welcome me. "Here he comes! Boy, how great! Where have you been all our lives?" Well, you know the rest of that story. They laughed at me, I couldn't get a job. I went and I made the rounds. I met every news director. I mean, it was awful. And they thought I was awful, or at least not anyone they should pay attention to. But I'd also applied at a station in Washington, D.C. And so, about the time my last dollar was about to leave me, they called me in Washington and they said, "Come on down, we want to take a look at you." And they did, and they hired me.
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Sam Donaldson

ABC News Correspondent

I got to Washington, I got in the news business, then I devoted myself single-handedly, single-mindedly to it. I mean, I lived, and breathed, and ate it. I worked 24 hours a day. That's an overstatement, obviously, but almost. I wasn't married then, and I devoted myself to it. And I tell people today, if you're going to succeed, yes, you have to prepare yourself. You have to have some background, you have to have some education, you have to have those kinds of obvious things without which, even though you have drive and ambition, you can't really get far, because the playing field will not be level for you. But once you have those things, the way to succeed is just do it the way the old Horatio Alger says it. You have to work harder than the next person. You have to take the dirty jobs. You have to work for less money than you can live on, or certainly than you want, and certainly than you think you're worth. You have to work on the weekends, you have to work nights, you have to get up at 2 o'clock in the morning. You have to skip your birthday, your anniversary, the kid's birthday.
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Rita Dove

Former Poet Laureate of the United States

Hemingway once said that more writers fail from lack of character than lack of talent. You know? It is not a question of sitting down under a tree and having inspiration come down. If you wait for inspiration, inspiration's going to go away and look for more fertile ground to work with. There's a lot of work involved in it too. There's a lot of feeling that you're almost there, but you don't even know how to get to that point in the poem, and then you just simply keep working. You keep writing, you keep re-writing. And to know that everyone goes through that -- and that's part of the process and it's actually a fun part of the process -- is very important too.
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Freeman Dyson

Theoretical Physicist and Author

Freeman Dyson: My life's been more or less divided in two parts: I mean, the first half as a scientist, the second half as a writer. They're surprisingly similar in a way. I mean, in both cases you're just using a skill to do all kinds of interesting things. So as a scientist I used my skill in mathematics to solve puzzles in many different areas. And each time you solve a puzzle, of course it's exciting. It's hard work and you work terribly hard, groping around in the dark trying to find a way to attack a problem. I would sit at the desk and scribble. My way of thinking is just by scribbling equations on bits of paper, so I would scribble a hundred pages worth of equations. And then when the time is ripe you suddenly begin to see the pattern and you begin to see how it's going to work. And then that's of course when all the blood, sweat and tears finally pays off, and then it takes only a couple of hours then actually to figure out how to do it. And then after that it's fairly easy then to fill in all the details. So then you have a problem solved, and you go and write it up for a paper to go into a professional journal, and you begin making speeches and you suddenly become useful. You've done something that other people can make use of. So that's a great life as a scientist. It's like building a cathedral: you put in a brick here and there and gradually the cathedral grows. That's the feeling you have in science, that it's a communal enterprise. It's exciting because things do change, and they do grow, and you finally end up producing something very great and beautiful, but my contribution is quite modest. But still it's part of the big picture. So that's very satisfying.
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Freeman Dyson

Theoretical Physicist and Author

I have the advantage, of course, of this short attention span, so that I didn't ever get obsessed with a problem in a sort of pathological way. I have had a number of failures. I published several papers that actually turned out to be wrong. That's very depressing, when one of your colleagues calls up and says, "Look, that's all wrong for the following reasons " And you think, "Oh, I'm absolutely no good. I've lost it." But after a week or two you recover. That's happened to me several times. I have the good fortune not to take myself too seriously. I know what I can do, and when I make a mistake it's not a tragedy. Luckily people have short memories too.
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