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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


Francis Collins

Presidential Medal of Freedom

Francis Collins: I think you have to really care about what you're doing, because anything worth doing is going to be challenging and it's going to have a high risk of failure. I have failed more times in my life than I could tell you about. Hunting for disease genes is a very failure-prone process and that's mostly what I've done in my scientific career -- for cystic fibrosis, for Huntington's disease. We're right now hunting for the genes for adult onset diabetes, which is the hardest thing I've ever done and I don't know if it's going to work. I have a sign on my wall which is a quote from Winston Churchill, which says, "Success is nothing more than going from failure to failure with undiminished enthusiasm."
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Francis Collins

Presidential Medal of Freedom

I don't know any scientists who have a success rate of their experiments greater than about one in ten. Ninety percent, total flops, learn nothing, something was dreadfully wrong, just wasted time. Of the ten percent that actually succeed, maybe ten percent of those actually contribute in some way to new knowledge, and the rest just sort of confirmed something that was already known. So if one is going to do this -- and don't get me wrong, it's the most exhilarating thing in the world to do if you decide that this is your calling -- that one has to expect failure. If you're doing experiments that work all the time, you're not working on anything very interesting. You're not really at the cutting edge, you're just sort of replicating things that were already known.
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Denton Cooley

Pioneer of Heart Transplants

I've always felt that maybe one of the reasons that I did well as a student and made such good grades was because I lacked confidence. Lacked self-confidence, and I never felt that I was prepared to take an examination, and I had to study a little bit extra. So that sort of lack of confidence helped me, I think, to make a good record when I was a student. But since I finished my medical training, and so on, at that level, I've gained self-confidence over a period of years. And had a great deal of experience in everyday surgery.
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Denton Cooley

Pioneer of Heart Transplants

I can remember so well, one day when we lost a patient in the operating room. Lost one of the patients back on the cardiac ward, and so forth, and I was very depressed. I went and talked to Dr. Blalock, and I said we ought to cancel the schedule for the rest of the week, and sort of get ourselves back together. And he said, "No. We didn't do anything wrong. We did our best." He said, "You just go ahead and schedule tomorrow's cases as if nothing had gone wrong." He said, "I think I'm going to go out and play nine holes of golf myself." And that was a good lesson to me, you know. The only way you can get over this discouragement, or sadness, is to keep on working. The human mind has a way of putting some of those things in a distant corner, and you just go ahead with your life, and try to overcome those disappointments.
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Francis Ford Coppola

Filmmaker, Producer and Screenwriter

I showed him the three pages I wrote that night, which was of course, the most garish kind of action scene I could come up with. And he said, "Okay." And I went off. He gave me a check for $20,000. He sent me with a young woman who had worked on the production who was going to be the co-signer -- and I went to Ireland. When I was in Ireland, I met another producer and I said I was making a film for Roger, and this guy offered to buy the English rights for another $20,000. So I had now $40,000. Roger, of course, expected to get his $20,000 back, still make the movie for the 20 with the English rights, and get the film for free. But I sort of just duped him. I took both checks and I put it in the bank. And I had this young woman sign the check, and I just kind of made the amount to the whole amount, so she basically was out of the check signing. Then I made the movie for $40,000, which was this little black-and-white horror film called Dementia 13, which we made in about nine days.
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Francis Ford Coppola

Filmmaker, Producer and Screenwriter

The Godfather was a very unappreciated movie when we were making it. They were very unhappy with it. They didn't like the cast. They didn't like the way I was shooting it. I was always on the verge of getting fired. So it was an extremely nightmarish experience. I had two little kids, and the third one was born during that. We lived in a little apartment, and I was basically frightened that they didn't like it. They had as much as said that, so when it was all over I wasn't at all confident that it was going to be successful, and that I'd ever get another job.
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