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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


Tenley Albright

Olympic Gold Medal Figure Skater

By the time I came down with polio, at first nobody knew whether I ever would walk again or not. One Monday morning, the doctors came in and said to me, "On Friday we are going to ask you to take three steps." That was the first time I ever remember visualizing. Looking back now, I didn't realize it then. I worked all week, lying on my bed, thinking what it would be like and how I would somehow manage to take three steps. Friday morning came and somehow I did manage. And that was really the start of my recovery.
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Tenley Albright

Olympic Gold Medal Figure Skater

I think I was motivated to do surgery because I had some feeling inside me that maybe I could do it a little bit gentler spare a little bit more blood loss, be conscious that explaining to a patient beforehand what it would be like afterwards might help them recover a little faster. I wanted to have an influence. I wanted to have an effect. And that motivated me to go ahead and see what I could do. And try my hardest at it.
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Stephen Ambrose

Biographer and Historian

One of the things (Professor Hesseltine) said that so struck me was that, "In this course, instead of doing a term paper in which you read three or four books, and then do some kind of a synthesis of them and just regurgitate knowledge, you're going to be doing original research." And what he had us do was to go to the State Historical Society and go through 19th Century documents -- letters, diaries, newspapers -- about Wisconsin people who were not important enough to have a real biography written about them, but who'd made an impact, because he was compiling a dictionary of Wisconsin biography. And we would each write a 10-page biography of this politician, businessman, teacher, whatever, and it would go into this biography, series of Wisconsinites. And he said, "You're going to be adding to the sum of the world's knowledge." And that just hit me like a sledgehammer. It had never before occurred to me that I could add to the sum of the world's knowledge.
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Stephen Ambrose

Biographer and Historian

Stephen Ambrose: My interest in Lewis and Clark began with reading their journals, which my Aunt Lois had given to me in the summer of 1975. And I'm embarrassed to say that I had a Ph.D. in American history and had been teaching American history for -- by that time -- 20 years, and I'd never read the journals of Lewis and Clark. Well I read 'em, and I was enthralled from paragraph two on. And at Christmas dinner, sitting around the table with the kids, after the turkey and all the rest, 1975, the question came up: "What are we going to do to celebrate our nation's 200th birthday?" I mean, it's something that mattered to everybody of course, but I'm an American historian and had a special interest in -- I wanted to do something really special. And it just popped out of me, "I want to be on Lemhi Pass." That's the Continental Divide, the border between Idaho and Montana where Meriwether Lewis became the first American to step over into that great northwestern empire of Idaho, Oregon and Washington. "That's where I want to be on the 4th of July." And the kids loved the idea, and Moira loved the idea, and I invited students to come along, and about 25 of them did, and we pulled it off. We were there for the 4th of July 1976, and it was the most glorious wonderful night. Clearest sky. You could reach up and touch the stars. We climbed out of the pass to the top of the mountain, sang patriotic songs, not so easy to do in 1976. I mean, these students were -- Nixon had just resigned, Saigon had fallen, cynicism was the order of the day. But in that setting it worked very nicely.
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Maya Angelou

Poet and Historian

Maya Angelou: I was a mute from the time I was seven and a half until I was almost 13. I didn't speak. I had voice, but I refused to use it. My grandmother, who was raising me in a little village in Arkansas, used to tell me, "Sister, mamma don't care about what these people say: 'You must be an idiot, you must be a moron'. Mamma don't care, sister. Mamma know, when you and the Good Lord get ready, you're gonna be a preacher." Well, I used to sit and think to myself, "Poor, ignorant mamma. She doesn't know. I will never speak, let alone preach." It has devolved upon me to -- not preach, as it were -- but to write about morals, about hope, about desolation, about pain and ecstasy and joy and triumph in the human spirit. So it seems to me, that is my calling. And I write about it for all of us, because I know that human beings are more alike than we are unalike.
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Maya Angelou

Poet and Historian

We, the teachers, those of us who are the television producers, I mean, and speakers, interviewers, the professors, the parents, we have to broaden our thinking. We must do to include all the children, you see? There are Asian children watching. Those children need to know that they have already been paid for. They need to be reminded that in the 1850s the Asians came to this country and built the railroads. They need to know that for centuries -- I mean for decades, they were unable legally to bring their mates. They need to know that, that they have been paid for. They need to be encouraged to read Kenzaburo Oe and Kobo Abe, and Janice Mirikitani, and Maxine Hong Kingston, Ishiguru. They need to be encouraged to read, so that they can say, "Oh, wait just a minute. I'm not here at anybody's sufferance. This is my country." You see?
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Maya Angelou

Poet and Historian

It is not impossible to become Martin Luther King, to become J.F. Kennedy, to become Mahatma Gandhi, it is not impossible to become Barbara Jordan or Eleanor Roosevelt. That is not impossible, it's within your grasp, absolutely. Those were human beings. So, if you approach that with that idea -- if you approach the future with the idea that I am up to it, I am a man or woman of my time, and I am up to it. I will study hard, pray a lot and all that, but I am up to it. If you do that, then, in case the contemporary leaders fall, there will be someone to step in the place, you see? That is what is important.
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