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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


Donald Johanson

Discoverer of Lucy

Donald Johanson: No. I suspect that if I had not met Paul Lazer, if I had not had his remarkable influence, I would certainly have been doing something else. I think that, in fact, as I look back there was a very interesting thing which happened when I was a senior in high school. My first two years of high school, I was not a very good student. I was much more interested in what was going on outside of school. I was not stimulated to perform by the regular curriculum of high school. We didn't have astronomy courses. We didn't have courses in natural history, and there were so many other things I was interested in that school work sort of got in the way and I did very poorly my first two years. After my sophomore year, Paul told me, "If you want to go to college, if you want to pursue an advanced degree, in whatever field it is you want, you need to get cracking in your school work." I worked very hard the last two years of high school. In fact, I graduated something like 26 out of 300, did very well, but I did very poorly on examinations, Scholastic Aptitude Tests, for example. The reason I did so poorly was because I had read papers which of course, most students had not read, about the fact that these tests are highly biased. It really depends on one's background. Taking a scholastic aptitude test that's designed for a white Anglo-Saxon group of people and applying that to another group of people, these other people come out scoring very low, and the interpretation is that they're not very bright. There's a sense that they're not terribly good, certainly weren't at that time, very good ways to accurately reflect one's intellectual capabilities, so I didn't take them very seriously. As a result I did very poorly on them. There was a tremendous effort, or emphasis, placed on these examinations for entry to college. And when I went to the high school counselor, Mr. Olson, to discuss my college applications, he said, "Young man, I think you should apply to a trade school." He said, "You're not college material." And Paul, at that point -- I came back with this story. I was practically in tears, as you might imagine. Paul reiterated that these tests are not accurate tests of one's capabilities and intelligence, and that I should apply. And I applied to several colleges and did get in. That sort of influence was terribly important to me because if I had not met him, and didn't have that sort of influence in my life, I might have ended up going to trade school, becoming a plumber, or an electrician, or something else.
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Donald Johanson

Discoverer of Lucy

When I was a student, and college became more and more expensive, I too had to get a job. I too had to work between midnight and four o'clock in the morning because we got 25 cents extra an hour by working the graveyard shift. So I worked for the physics department for two years and was able to finish my undergraduate work. And instead of complaining about that -- instead of complaining about the fact that my roommates were all going out on Saturday night, they had say, a second-hand car, or they all went home for vacation when I stayed to make extra money so I could make it through the next semester -- I faced it and embraced it as part of the learning experience. The learning experience of life.
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Frank Johnson

Presidential Medal of Freedom

Finally, I just entered an order desegregating over 100 public schools in the state of Alabama. Took the whole thing over. And that was the beginning of the end of school segregation in Alabama. Stopped focusing just on one school, one small school system, or one large school system. Put them all in. "You get us a plan that will desegregate. Eliminate discrimination on the basis of race, file a formal plan, put your superintendents and the boards of education in each school system under an injunction to do that." So I held court here on Saturday. Every Saturday for six months. You had over 100 school systems. Let them bring those plans in. Present them. Hear the other side. Either adopt them or send them back to revise it.
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Frank Johnson

Presidential Medal of Freedom

A lawyer who has practiced law for a long time that tells you he's never lost a case is lying to you. You don't win all your cases, because you don't make the facts. You can't tell how jurors are going to decide cases. Sometimes you can't tell how a judge will decide a case. So if you practice law any length of time, you will win some and lose some. You get a lot of satisfaction out of winning, but you look to your next case when you lose one. You shouldn't feel bad about losing it if you do the best you can with what you have. If you goof up, and don't do the best you can, then it's time you backed up and evaluated yourself and what you are doing. But if you practice law, you don't win all cases. The best surgeons in the country lose patients.
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Philip Johnson

Dean of American Architects

Sometimes I couldn't do something like write. That was a writer's block kind of thing, exaggerated up to a disease. So I flunked everything to do with writing or any expression in writing. Of course, it seems funny later that I did produce a book or two, but at that time, it was an unbelievable hurdle. There were no psychiatrists in those days, so I finally went to a nerve specialist. You're too young to remember that they were called neurologists or nerve specialists. They were naturally shrinks, but they didn't have the Freudian overtones. He told me I was sick. I was manic depressive. Naturally, I was delighted, but I was in tears most of the time. Somehow you get over all these things. I never thought I would. It's the end of the world again, you know. But early unsuccesses shouldn't bother anybody, because it happens to absolutely everybody. Every one of us goes through this and it's a funny thing that they don't tell you when you're young that depression now and then is perfectly normal, that sense of failure is also normal, but so is a sense of excitement and delirium normal. And I may be talking only for artists, but I doubt it. I think everybody has these inadequacy feelings that are helped by religion or psychiatry or just plain grow up. That's all I did, was just grow up.
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Philip Johnson

Dean of American Architects

Disaster. Agony. You're a writer. You know what a thing that blank piece of paper is. That's the ultimate horror. After about an hour of sweating over nothing, you finally, crabbedly write the beginning and that's what I do, what all architects do. Then you make a very tentative drawing and that's terrible. But somehow you get interested. Then you start a different idea and that's no good, but what about that idea, what about that idea? And your whole day passes in flashes because -- it's not a flash of genius in my case, but it's a flash of getting something on paper. Very funny.
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