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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


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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Chuck Jones

Animation Pioneer

I do three to 400 drawings on every picture -- the three to 400 pictures that I used. But sometimes I might draw 50 drawings trying to get one expression, so that it will look right for Bugs, or Daffy. Or something like this. Sometimes it came quickly, like writing, sometimes you come to a dead stop. And I'd have to haul off. I'd have to go and do something, because I couldn't break through, couldn't find what the guy was supposed to be doing, and that's all. You don't have to worry about drawing. After a while it's as easy to draw Daffy, or Bugs, or anything as just movement. I know how to do that, but what's he thinking about? And I have to get that expression to indicate what he's thinking about.
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James Earl Jones

National Medal of Arts

One day, my youngest uncle -- the other one who was the first to go to college, Randy -- and I were sitting out on the front porch. And he was brilliant. He ended up -- he just retired from Boeing Aircraft in Wichita, Kansas. And he knew he wanted to be an engineer, you know, and we would -- you know, boys boasting -- I couldn't top that. So I said, "Well, I'm gonna be an actor on the stage," and whop! from behind. My grandaddy had been listening behind the screen door. That was his way of discouraging that kind of thinking, you know. I was not only forbidden to see my father, the idea that you would really take seriously a life of a troubadour! I mean, my people were very, very simple. They were peasant people, you know? So the idea of somebody making a living as an actor or singer! You sang in church, you know, and you didn't act at all. You tried not to act, you tried to tell the truth. The idea of being a troubadour on the road singing for your supper was very disturbing to him. So, that was his way his way of discouraging that kind of thinking.
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James Earl Jones

National Medal of Arts

I was as content Off-Broadway as I was in a big Hollywood movie, and, I just try to be content wherever I am, you know. An, it doesn't solve anything, it just makes you able to move, from one -- I think I was told yesterday by some wonderful brilliant mind that I met on the path out here, Churchill said, "Success is moving from one failure to the next with undiminished enthusiasm." Well, that's what I was able to do from my early -- so nothing threw me, really. And nothing embittered me, which is important, because I think ethnic people and women in this society can end up being embittered because of the lack of affirmative action, you know. Or the lack of removal of those ceilings, those glass ceilings. And that never happened to me, and I feel blessed. I'm a healthier person because of it. I can pass on a healthier state of mind to my son because of it.
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James Earl Jones

National Medal of Arts

James Earl Jones: Well, I know actors who, at that time, were better than I was. One in particular who was so frightened by his own talent, he would only go to auditions drunk. Self-destruction. And I think, on the other end, there were actors who were not as good as I was, perhaps who could have hung in too, but began to blame everything on race. You know? I mean they were black or whatever, minority race. And I did none of these things. I sort of stayed straight, you know, and square. Very, very square, but always able to walk straight in line, you know, toward my goal. Toward it. The goal was not really important. The goal wasn't to be a millionaire or to be a Hollywood star. That was not the goal. The goal was something about -- the goal was to find the goal, but I knew where it was. It had to do with getting on that stage and finding better and better plays -- and hopefully movie scripts -- to do. To be a part of good story telling. The goal was about that. And nothing threw me off, neither poverty nor discouragement. Nothing threw me off. I didn't know Churchill's theory then, but I lived it.
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James Earl Jones

National Medal of Arts

You're the only person who can tell whether you have talent or not, and there's a certain point where you've go to be really honest with yourself and say, "Yeah, I do, and I'm going on." or "No, I don't." And your parents can't do it for you, and critics can't do it for you. Once you've determined that, then there should be no room for doubt, you know. There is room that, "Well, maybe this isn't the right role for me." That's always going on, you know. You're told every day you're not right for this role. And they might, "It's 'cause you're too tall." They usually don't know why you're not right for it. It's just, you didn't ring a bell for them, that's all. And that's okay. You've got to accept the fact that you don't ring a bell for everybody.
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