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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


James Cameron

Master Filmmaker

James Cameron: You never really "get" an opportunity. You take an opportunity. You know, in the film making business no one ever gives you anything. Nobody ever taps you on the shoulder and say, "You know, I've really admired the way you talk and the way you draw, and I think you'd make a good director." It doesn't happen that way. You have to constantly be pulling on somebody's sleeve saying, "Hey, I want to direct. I want to direct. I want to direct." And you have to be willing to make sacrifices to do that. The mistake a lot of people, I think, make in Hollywood is that they think, "Well, I'll get to the top of my field as a whatever, editor, production designer, writer, and then I'll just move laterally into directing and I'll be more respected and I'll have more power." It doesn't work that way, because you drop right to the bottom of the pack as a director.
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James Cameron

Master Filmmaker

Never give up because it's going to be unbelievably hard. It's going to be a ridiculously brutal, uphill fight all the time, and you just have to have tremendous stamina and self-confidence to power through it. You have to not listen to the nay sayers because there will be many and often they'll be much more qualified than you and cause you to sort of doubt yourself. But, you know, what I learned from those early days was to trust my instincts and to not back off, because when the hour gets dark, you're instinct is to -- or your tendency might be to say, "Well, this is just too hard and no, you know, nobody should have to go through this in order to accomplish X," whether it's a movie or whatever. But to -- in the pursuit of excellence -- and I think you can be in the pursuit of excellence when you're working on a low budget science fiction horror film, if it's how you define it. You have to go all the way. It's that simple. Now I don't mean trample over people. I don't mean turn into a screaming maniac. I mean, you have to be able -- you have to have made the commitment within yourself to do whatever it takes to get the job done and to try to inspire other people to do it, because obviously the first rule is you can't do it by yourself.
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James Cameron

Master Filmmaker

Everyone around me had basically said, "You stink. You suck. You don't know what you're doing." And I just -- and I accepted it but then a little voice kept saying, "I don't think so. I don't think it can be that bad. I remember doing some pretty cool stuff with the actors in this moment and that moment." And I looked at it and it was fine. So then I thought, "You know what, I actually can do this and I just fell in with a pack of, you know, thieves and whackos here." But I also realized that I was going to have to get busy and create my own thing, and that nobody would hire me after that experience. Nobody would hire me and just put me on a film. I'd have to create my own thing and hang on tenaciously to that in order to be able to direct again, and that's why I wrote The Terminator
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Benjamin Carson

Pediatric Neurosurgeon

We lived in the inner city, single parent home, dire poverty, my mother only had a third grade education. I was perhaps the worst student you've ever seen. I thought I was really stupid. All my classmates and teachers agreed, and my nickname was "Dummy." But, fortunately I continued to hold onto that dream and, you know, when I was in the fifth grade, my mother put us on this reading program and said we had to read two books a piece from the Detroit Public Library and submit to her written book reports, which she couldn't read, but we didn't know that, and she'd put a little check mark on them and act like she was reading them.
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Benjamin Carson

Pediatric Neurosurgeon

They would have all these stories on about how there would be no summer jobs, and there would be riots in the streets because the kids wouldn't have anything to do. A lot of kids just gave up and they said, "There's not going to be any jobs." But, I would just get on the bus and ride out somewhere and get off, and if I saw a business establishment I'd go knock on the door and say, "I'm a summer student, I need a job." And, I usually got one.
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Benjamin Carson

Pediatric Neurosurgeon

But, one time I couldn't get a job, even that way, it was so bad. And, my creativity, I guess, went into another gear, and I decided to go to the Young and Rubicam Company. When I was applying to college, I had done my regional interview there, and I knew that the Executive Vice President would remember me, 'cause he had done my interview. So, I went up to the penthouse suite, waited 'til his secretary turned her back, and darted into his office. And he said, "Benjamin, how are you? How are things at Yale?" And, I said that "Things are wonderful, but I can't find a job this summer." And he said, "Did you try our personnel office?" I said no. Actually I had tried it. And, he said, "I'll tell you what." He picked up the telephone, and he called the personnel director. He says, "I know we're not hiring this summer, but I have a young man here, and I'm going to send him down. I want you to give him a job."
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Benjamin Carson

Pediatric Neurosurgeon

Thomas Edison said he knew 999 ways that a light bulb did not work. He didn't give up, and along with his right-hand man, Lewis Lattimer, they eventually came up with a successful light bulb. There's a cleaning formula called Formula 409. Of course, the reason they call it that is because the first 408 didn't work, but they didn't give up and they kept going. I always say, "If something doesn't work out, make sure you analyze it and try to find out why it didn't work and don't repeat that." It's like people who are always late. You can always count on them being late. They never seem to learn that if you get organized and you leave 15 minutes earlier, you won't be late. They just don't seem to be able to understand that. And, a person who can learn from their mistakes is a person who is going to be successful.
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Jimmy Carter

Nobel Prize for Peace

I ran for the governorship in 1966 and lost. It was the first real defeat in my life. At everything else I had been successful. Whenever I wanted something in the Navy, I got it because I was an outstanding officer. I worked hard. So that was a very serious blow to me. I was very distressed. And my sister, whose name is Ruth Stapleton, was a famous evangelist. She wrote four or five books, and she would give lectures to 50,000 people at a time. She and I had a long walk in the woods on my farm, and she said, "Jimmy, quite often, when you have a blow to your pride and a horrible defeat, you can either give up, or you can look on it as a way that God opens to you to do different and even better things." And I said, "Ruth, I've been defeated for governor in Georgia. My political career is over. I don't have any future." But it proved to be wrong. And then of course, I was defeated in 1980 again for re-election after reaching the highest levels of political achievement in the world. And I thought we were in desperate straits then. I found out I was in debt. I had put all my financial resources in a private trust. And I didn't let them communicate with me. After I was defeated for re-election, I found out that instead of being a fairly wealthy person, I was a million dollars in debt. And I thought I was going to have to sell all my farms and everything in order to pay off my debts. But I've managed to pay them off now, and we have as exciting and challenging and vigorous and adventurous and gratifying a life here at the Carter Center as I ever had before in my life.
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