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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


Sam Donaldson

ABC News Correspondent

There's a picture of me at age 8 in a Cub Scout uniform holding a crystal microphone, obviously pretending that I was reading the war news. Don't ask me why I thought I wanted to do that, but I did. My mother had taught me to read, had read to me. She clearly was pushing me to try to do something with my life. And I began to read the newspaper and pretend I was reading the war news. This is the earliest known point at which something in my mind said maybe I wanted to be in the news business. But believe me, at age eight I had no idea of what the news business was like, nor did I have any feeling of the public's right to know, or the First Amendment. That would be revisionist history. I was just getting a kick out of it.
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Sam Donaldson

ABC News Correspondent

I didn't come east of the Mississippi for the first time in my life until I was 26 years of age, but I knew. I read magazines, I listened to radio, I watched television. I knew there was something out there, and I wanted a part of it. I wanted to be in the news business, and I thought to myself, "Hey, I want to go to New York or Washington and be in the news business. That's where the action is." Now, I want to make clear that I think people who want to stay in Dallas, or in Farmington, New Mexico, or in Dubuque, Iowa are terrific. You decide what fulfills you, and where you want to work. And it's not a failure to stay in a small town and lead a wonderful life and do great work there. But for me, I wanted to see more. And I wanted to do more. And in those days at least, more meant bigger. It meant a grander scale, it meant more importance and a bigger scene. And that's what propelled me, in a foolhardy way, to quit my job in Dallas and go to New York without a job, because I wanted to do something up there.
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Rita Dove

Former Poet Laureate of the United States

Here was a living, breathing, walking, joking person, who wrote books. And for me, it was that I loved to read but I always thought that the dream was too far away. The person who had written the book was a god, it wasn't a person. To have someone actually in the same room with me, talking, and you realize he gets up and walks his dog the same as everybody else, was a way of saying, "It is possible. You can really walk through that door too." That was the important thing.
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Rita Dove

Former Poet Laureate of the United States

I think that without imagination we can go nowhere. And imagination is not something that's just restricted to the arts. Every scientist that I have met who has been a success has had to imagine. You have to imagine it possible before you can see something, sometimes. You can have the evidence right in front of you, but if you can't imagine something that has never existed before, it's impossible. And, with imagination, there are a lot of other characteristics I think you need too. You need determination, and you need to have some sense, some faith in the human ability to persevere and to triumph. Whether you have faith in yourself as that human being is a different point, but at least the faith that human beings can do it. But imagination, in a certain way, contains all of those things, too, because you have to imagine that it is possible for human beings to do something before you can do it.
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Freeman Dyson

Theoretical Physicist and Author

Then there's the whole question of applying solar energy creatively to bring wealth to the poor countries, which I think is enormously promising. The poor countries of the world, by and large, are those that have the most sunlight as well as having the most poverty. Those two things could go very well together: that sunlight gives you the chance to produce wealth anywhere in the world where you have sunlight, and notably in the tropics. And while I don't see any reason why this genetic engineering shouldn't be used as a basis for all kinds of new industries -- production of food and fuel and chemicals, and all kinds of recycling of materials -- all these things could be done biologically much cheaper and with less disruption of the environment. So that's a hugely promising field. And that's of course highly unpopular in certain circles. There's very violent opposition to this kind of biotechnology. I think it will win through. One has to listen to the opposition. The opposition has good reasons for being worried about it.
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Freeman Dyson

Theoretical Physicist and Author

When I was 14 I suddenly had a kind of conversion to a new religion, which I called Cosmic Unity, in which all human beings were the same person. It was a kind of transmigration of souls, except instead of waiting until you were dead before transmigrating, you transmigrated all the time. So we were always just the same soul flitting around from one person to another. So it gave you a scientific justification for ethics. If the person that you are hurting is just yourself, then clearly it doesn't make sense. So that was what we were going to talk to Hitler about, I guess. So anyway, I started out then as an evangelist, at the age of 14, to try to make converts to this great new religion. And I wasn't very successful. I think I made one and a half converts all together, and so it only lasted for a few months. But in a way that defined my attitude, both to human problems and to religion in a way. I thought everybody goes through such a time of life when you start to take the problems of life and death seriously. That's the way it hit me.
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