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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


Sir Roger Bannister

Track and Field Legend

John Landy, my rival, ran 4:02 three or four times, and he used the phrase, "It's like a wall." Now logically, I could not understand, as a physiologist, why a human being can run a mile in four minutes and two seconds, and four minutes and one second, and why somebody else won't inevitably come along, train a little better, know that there's a target to be beaten, and beat it. So that was my mental approach to it. It was just fortunate for me that the pathway of record breaking, which continues in all aspects of athletics, had just reached this magical critical four minutes: four laps of one minute each, on a quarter-mile track. That was really the reason why it had conspired to become a possible barrier, physical or psychological. It wasn't, in my view, physical, but it did become to some extent psychological. And it was really an example -- I don't know whether the word paradigm is correct -- paradigm of human achievement in a purely athletic sense. What limits are there to what the body can do?
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Sir Roger Bannister

Track and Field Legend

Sir Roger Bannister: Running was something I wanted to do at school, so I became a champion at school. Then my father, when I was 16, took me to watch an athletic event. There are two parts to running. There is the simple enjoyment as you run through the countryside, a pure pleasure without any target. This meeting showed me a kind of forum in which success could be crystallized; those who were watching, applauded, and there was a gladiatorial interplay between the athletes. I watched an English runner called Sidney Wooderson, who had held the world record for the mile, and it had always been a British preoccupation to hold this mile record. There were a series of English runners who had held it. I watched him after the end of the war in 1945, running against the world record holders from Sweden, like Andersson. And, he was not in the same league, but he came up and challenged the world record holder on the last bend. The challenge was easily fought off by the Swede, but there was a feeling of courage that he showed in tackling the Swede, who looked physically much stronger, more elegant, and more powerful; Wooderson was a rather small man. But this exchange, this battle was, I think, the thing which led me to go on from simple running for pleasure to running with this target of records, Olympic Games and other events in mind.
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Sir Roger Bannister

Track and Field Legend

There was one journalist who said eventually the four-minute mile will be broken, and everybody thought it was a pretty eccentric view, because there was a long way to go. But to me, at that stage, I was only looking ahead to becoming an international. I was immediately involved in the management of the Oxford athletics, became the Secretary and then the President. I declined the invitation to compete in the London Olympics. In those days, I didn't train very much. We didn't really know how to train in modern terms. There was this thing called "burning yourself out." I didn't want to burn myself out at 18, and I had a notion that if I looked after myself, trained carefully, I would go on improving, not by training two to three hours a day, but by training three quarters of an hour a day. It seemed to me logical that you could go on improving, and you didn't have to spend all day running.
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Sir Roger Bannister

Track and Field Legend

All sporting events are more mental than physical. You have to train the physical aspects for years. But eventually, even in the more complex movements, which have my respect, those who can pitch and bat or play golf and so on, the basis of it is laid down in the brain and the real question is whether the brain can be allowed to do its bit without being interfered with by psychological factors. The other aspect of the brain is that it must be positive. I suppose these two are connected. But, the brain has to have some overall image of what is being achieved. I did have the feeling that -- in a sense -- looking down on myself doing it. I mean being outside of my body in some kind of way. I think this experience has been described by others.
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Ehud Barak

Former Prime Minister of Israel

I always used to tell young officers -- since I entered battle as an officer, I never experienced it as a soldier -- I told them, "You are lucky to become officers in operations since officers have to care about what happens with their unit. They have a commitment to lead. So you will be always under the burden of identifying what happens, deciding what should be done, issuing orders, and looking around at someone following them -- that something happens and then it changes the situation. And the other side also is acting and everything is flowing around you and you have to continuously keep it running. What is your situation? What is happening? What should be done about it? How to spread the orders and how to watch they are fulfilled?"
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Ehud Barak

Former Prime Minister of Israel

I really felt that somehow when many others lose their sense of directions, or the skyline, or the contours of all the hills around look the same, that I feel that I know where to go. And something similar happened to me many times during the height of a battle. I feel that somehow I can look at it not just out of my own body as an individual that cares about himself, but I can look at it from the outside in a certain -- in a way to -- during the battle at certain aspects it was less kind of hurting you from your stomach than before. When before you are idle, when you have nothing to do but to contemplate what could happen, you become more kind of irritated than once it begins. You have a role. You have something to do. It is dependent upon you. You have to keep yourself detached a little bit looking at all the pictures, giving orders, otherwise your people will be lost and your unit will be lost, and you will lose. And somehow this kind of feeling that I can see -- I can see what happens, I do not lose sight of what happens all around, what should be done, and I do not get panicked -- is what kind of encourages me to keep doing it.
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Ehud Barak

Former Prime Minister of Israel

On the battlefield itself, no one will move if you are not moving. I used to tell my company commanders "If I, the battalion commander, will not go to a fire position, open fire and then give commands, no one will move. And if you company commanders will not be the first one to climb to fire position, every other tank crew will find some excuse not to climb, and we have to do it the first time." You don't have time. You somehow -- I believe that many good commanders in the field just somehow can make their overall judgment very quickly. I can compare it to something in which I'm very weak but I watch it. The way that tennis players are responding. They're not calculating. If you were to write the Newtonian equations of the moving of the tennis ball, what you should have done, or not to mention the Schrödinger equations of it, you will never end it. You've got to do what should be done and you don't assess whether you should do it this way or this way, just do what should be done.
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Ehud Barak

Former Prime Minister of Israel

I believe that I found from early youth that meaning could be found only in something that goes beyond your own kind of frame of skin and bones, and even self-interest. If something is serving you, if you can get the ultimate kind of domestic or self-indulgent situation, it will not satisfy you, I believe -- most human beings, I know for sure about myself -- for very long. It is only through something that seems to be important, meaningful, has to do with a wider group of human beings, and leave some imprint beyond your body, and in a way, beyond your time. That makes life meaningful. And that somehow -- I was born in a kind of mobilized society as I see it in retrospect, you know, it was a society shaping. A very strong feeling, unspoken feeling, that we are facing history, that we are fulfilling the dreams of generations of Jews, especially immediately after the Holocaust in my formative years when the remnants of the Holocaust were still coming.
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Gary Becker

Nobel Prize in Economics

Gary Becker: Early on, maybe my second or third year, I got a little idea that I thought I could use to understand this social problem of discrimination against groups. In particular blacks, but also women and other groups -- Jews, Chinese in many societies, and so on. So I had this little idea, how I could use economic theory to talk about the connection between people's prejudices and how that worked out in the economic system. So let's say if an employer was prejudiced against black workers, what did that mean for the jobs that black workers could get and for the earnings that they would make compared to, say whites, who were equally skilled? Now it's not so obvious that even though, let's say employers will be prejudiced, how that shows up in terms of earnings and occupation. That linkage had not been discussed, in fact you'll find almost no literature on discrimination, prior to my book, by economists. So I had this little idea. I saw a way of taking the prejudices of workers and employers and customers and all groups, even governments, and sort of putting that through an economic analysis with competition and the goals of employers, opportunities for black and white employees to choose among different firms. So it becomes a complicated problem, using all the tools of economics. I saw a way to do that and be able to say, "Well, if there's much prejudice under this-this conditions, there'll be this much difference in wages between equally productive whites and blacks, this much unemployment of blacks, this much lower occupations of blacks." So that really excited me, because it seemed to be obviously important if we were trying to understand the situation of blacks, you just can't look at we can't see the prejudices, it's manifested in what we see in terms of earnings and employment. I had something that could be manifested and yet I had a way of working back and sort of inferring what the prejudices must have been. So I thought that was really exciting.
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