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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

Bill Russell

Cornerstone of the Boston Celtics' Dynasty

Bill Russell: My coach and I -- I call Red Auerbach "my coach" -- his background was math. We used to talk all the time about the game and life and things, but mostly equations. When you think about the game of basketball, it's played in a cube. There are boundaries: floor and ceiling, left, right, back and forth. And the other confinement is time. So what you do within those boundaries with the allotted amount of time is where the game is. And first of all, I never approached the game with a preconceived notion. Now there may be some things I learned, but I wouldn't take anybody's word for it. They'd say, "He's gonna do this." I could not take anybody's word for that, because first of all in that level there are no "one size fits all" and there's no silver bullet. And so in college I was -- mostly I was self taught, basically. One time I was playing a game against Stanford and one of their guards stole the ball and started down to shoot a lay-up. And I was the only one who could catch him. I was the only one in the building that knew that! So I was behind him, and after I was sure that I could catch him -- he's going down the right side -- I took a giant step to the left, and then continued. And the reason I took it to the left, if I went right behind him and blocked the shot I'd probably hit him and that's a foul and there's no accomplishment. But if I took a step to the left when I got to him, there was an angle, so I had a choice to either go in front or behind. And I got there, I knocked the ball into the backboard and then he got the rebound and went back the other way. And I got to know him after we got to playing, and he said he never figured out where I came from, but it was actually quite routine.
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Albie Sachs

Constitutional Court of South Africa

It wasn't just a question of who was stronger physically, who could mess up and hurt the other side the most effectively to extract information. It was what we stood for, and the ANC, as an organization, took a very, very firm position that we put people on trial. We don't have indefinite detention without a trial, whatever the suspicions might be, and we don't use torture -- sleep deprivation, water boarding, suffocating people, physical abuse. We just don't use that, because that's not the kind of people we are. And I mention this with some emphasis, because it meant, when eventually it came to writing the South African constitution, we didn't need any persuading about the importance of fundamental rights. We had applied the theme of fundamental rights to our enemies in circumstances where conditions were often desperate for us. It was part of our integrity, and our personality, and that dream and sense of idealism that made us a liberation movement, and not just another group of people fighting for power, to dislodge one group and replace them with another group.
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Albie Sachs

Constitutional Court of South Africa

Albie Sachs: When I was young, I learned to dream. I learned to imagine doing impossible things. I learned to feel that we have just one life that can be very rich. It can be very special, it's really up to us. I don't think that's changed really. The details, the formatting of it, the experiences have changed. I've had to rethink a lot of things about happiness. I thought you would just be happy, and then -- personal happiness -- you'd meet the right person, you fall in love and you just become happy. I thought that everybody who had money would be happy. Poor people are unhappy 'cause they're short of bread and they can't go to school and so on. I discovered rich people are unhappy. I discovered you could meet someone you loved very much, you'd been through a lot together, but somehow you weren't happy together. Life in that sense is a much richer, more nuanced experience, in many ways much more wonderful because it's not automatic.
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Oliver Sacks

Neurologist and Author

Oliver Sacks: My way of studying the brain, as a clinical neurologist, is not to stick electrodes in it or to do brain imaging -- although, of course, these may be necessary -- but to see the impact of various diseases, various forms of damage on the person. One can learn a tremendous -- one sees a tremendous amount this way. For example, although we get a sort of seamless picture of the world, there are 40 or 50 sub-systems, visual sub-systems, and one would have no idea of their existence were it not that one or two of them might be knocked out. Someone might become totally color blind or motion blind or something else. So on the one hand, I plot the person's ability to construct a world, a visual world, a moral world, whatever -- intellectual world -- on the basis of their brain functions and their compromise. But equally, I'm very much concerned with peoples' ability to continue life, or to renew themselves or to reconstruct themselves and their lives in other ways, so that even if, let us say, color vision is lost, the black and white world can then become heightened and enhanced. And there may be a heightened sense of contour and boundary and texture and tone and movement and depth and everything else. So for me, this is a way of seeing how people and brains construct worlds and construct selves.
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