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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


Maya Lin

Artist and Architect

Maya Lin: I was probably the first kid in my high school to go to Yale. And you know, Athens, Ohio, town of 15,000. I applied almost as a lark. I didn't know where I was going to go to school and I got in, and I was just so happy, and it was really surprising. And then, when I got there, the whole shock of being in a way not as well prepared academically for an Ivy League school and learning that you were the dumbest person in your class, not the smartest. No, it was very, very, intimidating. And it was also funny because my -- as I started to really focus on art and architecture, my roommates were appalled. Like one semester I never went to the library. I mean, I was pulling all nighter after all nighter obsessing about this project or that.
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George Lucas

Creator of "Star Wars"

It took me three, four years, to get from my first film to my second film, banging on doors, trying to get people to give me a chance. Writing, struggling, with no money in the bank, working as an editor on the side. Working as a cameraman on the side. Getting little jobs, eking out a living. Trying to stay alive, and pushing a script that nobody wanted.
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George Lucas

Creator of "Star Wars"

Film is not an easy occupation. There's a lot of occupations that are difficult. Film is one of them. There's always adversity that you're faced with. I like to tell students that I talk to that, you know, it's not a matter of how well can you make a movie. It's how well can you make it under the circumstance, because there's always circumstances. You cannot use that as an excuse. You can't put a title card at the head of the movie and say, "Well, we really had a bad problem. You know, the actor got sick and it rained this day and we had a hurricane." And you know, you can't -- the cameras broke down -- you can't do that. You simply have to show them the movie and it has got to work and there are no excuses. And so, you really have to focus on what you're doing and just plow ahead no matter what hurdles are thrown in front of you.
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George Lucas

Creator of "Star Wars"

George Lucas: I had a very, very difficult time my first two pictures. And when I started working on Star Wars, my second film, American Graffiti, had not come out yet. So, in the beginning it wasn't something anybody was interested in and I had taken it to a couple of studios and they had turned it down. And then one studio executive saw American Graffiti and loved it, and I took him the proposal. He said, "You know, I don't understand this, but I think you're a great film maker and I'm going to invest in you. I'm not going to invest in this project." And that's really how it got made.
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George Lucas

Creator of "Star Wars"

American Graffiti was really my first attempt at doing something mainstream, so to speak, and even it was so -- one, it was in a genre that was looked down upon but I loved when I was a kid. It was about my life as I grew up, so I cared about it a lot. And then on top of it, it was in a style that was different from what everybody was used to. It was intercutting four stories that didn't relate to each other, which nobody had really done before. Now it's sort of the standard fare for television. And it had music all the way through it; not just the score but actual songs from the period, and that is something that nobody had done before. And they just sort of described it as a musical montage with no characters and no story, and so it was very, very hard to get that off the ground, and on top of that it was a B movie. I almost got it set up at American International Pictures, where they liked doing those kinds of movies but it was too strange for them in terms of the style. And Star Wars was kind of the same situation where it was a genre they weren't that interested in. Science fiction was not something that did well at the box office. It dealt with robots and Wookies and things that -- generally most people -- they couldn't read it and say, "I understand what this is all about." They just were completely confused by it. And really on top of that, it was aimed at being a film for young people, and most of the studios said, "Look, that's Disney's. Disney does that. The rest of us can't do that, so we don't want to get into that area." So I had so many strikes against me when I did that. I was lucky that I found a studio executive that just believed in me as a film maker and just disregarded the material itself.
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Paul MacCready

Engineer of the Century

As I look back, I realize I probably had some manifestations that would be called dyslexia now. Not a basket case but, certainly in some things, a short attention span. If I would start reading a paragraph of history, by the time I was to the second sentence my mind would be a thousand miles away. And even in physics classes, I would tend to daydream about other things, not getting so much good out of the class.
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Paul MacCready

Engineer of the Century

For a while he was down really just six inches above the water, and the changing winds and somehow he struggled along as his left leg cramped from the dehydration. He pedaled mostly with his right. Then his right leg would cramp, and he would pedal mostly with his left. Towards the end both legs were cramped, but he somehow got that last little bit. And there was extra turbulence that was almost beyond the capability of the plane to handle its controls, just in that last bit, 50 meters off shore. But finally he made it, and it was almost a three-hour flight. Beyond all odds, just impossible for human stamina to have kept going that long, but he did.
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