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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


Michael Thornton

Medal of Honor

Your first eight weeks of training you go through a lot of physical -- I mean, harassing, harassing, harassing, harassment. Just everybody telling you you're worthless and you're not this. Doing push-ups, calisthenics, running. I mean, you don't go anywhere. You run everywhere, you know. You're the lowest animal in the world, you know, and you're right underneath a cockroach, you know, as far as they're -- and that's the way they treated you.
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Michael Thornton

Medal of Honor

Thomas Norris: You have to understand that we had a job to do, which we'd been trained very well to do. It was an unusual job, an unconventional job, a highly dangerous job, but you ran your missions because that's what you were sent there to do. And you never thought about, "Gosh, I almost didn't make it back from this one," or "Boy, I was successful on that one," or "We got ambushed on this one and we almost didn't make it out," you know, "Am I going to make it on the next one? Are my people going to make it back?" You don't think about those things. Each mission is an objective that you set out to accomplish and go after. Then you forget about that and you go on to the next one. How did this affect me? If you're asking me how did this affect me after the fact once I was wounded, obviously it changed my whole lifestyle and existence. I wanted to be a -- I mean, I no longer could stay in the Navy. I went into the hospital. I spent from 1972 to 1975 in surgeries. And after that until 1978 in minor surgeries, so I was going back and forth for repair work. The Navy retired me as a result of that, and wouldn't let me stay with the unit. So that part of my life totally changed. I was now -- I mean -- I had the injuries that I had to deal with. But some people look at you and say, "How did you make it through that?" And I think the reason I made it through was because of the type of training that I had way back when we went through basic DDT SEAL training. I mean there's an ingrown desire and determination that you're not going to quit no matter what. And the doctors even came in and said, "We didn't think we were ever going to save you." He said, "I don't know how you made it -- stayed alive and made it through but --" he said, "You just wouldn't give up."
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Clyde Tombaugh

Discoverer of Planet Pluto

Clyde Tombaugh: Being invited to come to Flagstaff was a big stroke of luck. The other was pluck, not really realizing I had been preparing myself for that for years before that: building that telescope, learning the finer objects in the sky, reading everything on astronomy I could get and to be very careful. I was somewhat of a perfectionist. So, those were the traits that made me a good candidate for this type of job.
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Clyde Tombaugh

Discoverer of Planet Pluto

I did not know that I had recorded the image of Pluto on those plates, not until I scanned them later in February. You passed your gaze over all these stars that you have to be conscious of seeing every star image, because you don't know which one's going to shift, if they shift. It's very tedious work and you go through tens of thousands of star images. I came to one place where it actually was, turned the next field and there it was! Instantly, I knew I had a planet beyond the orbit of Neptune because I knew the amount of shift was what fitted the situation. That was the most instantaneous thrill you can imagine. It just electrified me!
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Charles Townes

Inventor of the Maser & Laser

I really wanted to work in a university. I wanted to teach, and hopefully be able to do research. Teach in a university where I could do research, that was my goal, and I looked very hard, but this was the Depression, and the Bell Laboratories people offered me a job. They were just beginning to offer people jobs again, so it was the latter part of the Depression. This was 1939 and they offered me a job, and the professor with whom I worked said, "Look, that's a job, you ought to take it, there won't be many more." I wasn't all that eager. I knew Bell Laboratories was a fine place, but it wasn't a university. So I went, and I learned an enormous amount. It put me in good contact with electrical engineering, for example, particularly during the World War. I worked on radar, learned a lot about microwaves, and out of that has grown a great deal of my own research, which is typical. You project forward on what you know already. And getting intimately acquainted with engineering -- engineering techniques, electronics in particular -- has been very important to my career. Bell Laboratories was just a wonderful place to work. And afterwards, sometime after the war then, I had an opportunity to go to a university, which I did.
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Charles Townes

Inventor of the Maser & Laser

Charles Townes: I think first one has to learn the field thoroughly enough so that you can see the things that are promising. That means you work with somebody else who's an expert, try to learn from them, you take classes, you learn everything you can. At some point, you've learned enough that then you can perhaps be clever and wise about what next to do. And once you start doing that then, for me at least, everything sort of grows out of the things before. You take whatever experience you have, and that's true of course of all of life, you take whatever experience you have, and you project it forward, and what new things you might do with that expertise or knowledge or experience and judgment. I would say, in a sense, almost everything I have done, while it may seem very different scientifically, it really is a continuous stream of things, branching off here and there, you see, in various directions, but still very closely connected.
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