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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


Hilary Swank

Two Oscars for Best Actress

That preparation for me was so important in who I am today, because if I woke up in the morning, I ached everywhere. Everything. I just thought, "I'm so tired right now, and I can't go. I can't train today, I can't." And with that attitude, I wasn't growing. With that attitude, I was staying where I was, and I realized that the biggest obstacle was my mind. It was the biggest obstacle, and if I could get out of the way of myself, I would grow. So every time I had that attitude, I changed it, and I'd say, "You can. Today you can, and take it one day at a time, and today, I'm going to get up and I'm not going to think about the other six days of this week. I'm going to get up right now, and I'm going to go to the gym, and I'm going to learn about my boxing, and I'm going to be in the moment." You know, in anything, you hit a wall, and then you have to break through it, and I just had to get out of my own way.
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Hilary Swank

Two Oscars for Best Actress

Hilary Swank: Staph is very dangerous. When I got to my doctor's, he said, "Put your foot down. Stand up." Not on it, but to stand up. "Put your foot down. I'll be right back in." He came back in, and he said, "This is very serious. You have to stop boxing immediately, and you are going to stay right here." He drew a line on my leg, so it wouldn't go above that, because if that gets to your heart, you die. So if that infection makes it up to your heart, that's it. So obviously, it was devastating news to me that I wasn't going to be able to box, and I only had this limited amount of time. So he said, "I can't express to you " I said, "I need to box. I need to box. Two days? Will it be over in two days?" and he said, "Listen to me. You have to stop. This is life-threatening. You have to stop. Just stop. Get your infection, until it's gone, and then you can go training again." So I took most of the advice. When I felt like the line was gone and it wasn't red anymore, I couldn't box still 'cause I couldn't pivot on it, but I was still doing weight training. My trainer would piggyback me to the gym, and I'd do everything I could where I wasn't standing on it. I was doing all my upper body and my sit-ups, and then he'd piggyback me back to my place.
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Hilary Swank

Two Oscars for Best Actress

Hilary Swank: I was cast on Beverly Hills, 90210 when it was in its eighth season and no one watched it anymore. Yet, I was still very grateful for the job. I never, ever knocked an opportunity to learn my craft. I did a handful -- every single year -- I'd do a pilot. You know, a pilot is something that you get that they make, and they only pick up maybe four of them. They probably make 50 of them. So every year, I was thankful enough to get a pilot. Not all of them obviously got picked up, but then I got on 90210, and I was very grateful for the opportunity to continue to learn, even though it was something that was kind of old news. I signed a two-year contract, which is a very big deal. As a working actor, you have that security. I would say security is not the number one thing that most actors have, 'cause you never know what's going to happen tomorrow. So having a two-year contract was actually wonderful. It gave me the opportunity, like I said, to continue to grown and learn. And about maybe 14 episodes into the first year, I was fired. I remember going in and them saying, "This isn't really working. It's not working." I was devastated. I went home, and I thought, "I'm not good enough for 90210 in the eighth season! What does that say about me?" It's actually one of those great lessons in trusting fate, because about maybe four months later, I got Boys Don't Cry, and I wouldn't have been able to do that, had I not been fired.
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Hilary Swank

Two Oscars for Best Actress

There's criticism everywhere, and not all of it's constructive. So you walk a fine line of trying to figure out what is healthy and what's not. If someone says, "Your lips are too big," which I've heard, was that constructive? Is there anything I can do about that? No. If someone says, "We feel you're too half-hour," that's great that that's their opinion and that's why I didn't get that job, but I'm not going to take that upon myself and say, "Okay. Well, then I'm just going to do comedy, and I'm only going to go in for comedy." So it's a fine line of figuring out what do you take in and have to help you grow. It's a business, too. You can't close off and become bitter at things that people say, even though you might not always want to hear it. So I would take some of the things in, and incorporate that into my craft, or to my auditioning, or to whatever it may be. And then other things, I'd have to really say, "Oh, that really stings. That's a real bummer to hear that," but not allow it to close me up, to continue to stay open, and say, "But that's their opinion."
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Hilary Swank

Two Oscars for Best Actress

After I won my first Academy Award, I thought, "Wow, everything's going to change. I'm going to get so many offers, I'm not even going to have time to read everything, and I'm going to get all of these opportunities to work with people who inspire me and finally get real quality material." Yes, that was partly the case, but what I realized was my first role was a role where people saw me as looking like a boy. So that was their first impression of me. Well, of course, that's not who I am. I had long hair, and I'm a girl before I got the role, but I realized that that role, being everyone's first impression, that I had a lot to prove. I still had a lot to prove. They didn't see me as the girl next door or the funny girl or the pretty girl, and that I understand. And I didn't become angry about it. I said, "Wow, well now my job is to continue to go in, to meet people, to read things, to fight for things, to prove that I'm not just that, that I can be so much more." It's a constant, constant job. It's not easy for me. You know, even after Million Dollar Baby, there are still people who say, "Well, I don't really see her in this role," and I have to go in, and I have to persuade them and talk to them and tell them why I am.
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Amy Tan

Best-Selling Novelist

My parents had very high expectations. They expected me to get straight A's from the time I was in kindergarten. I remember, I was in kindergarten and there was a little girl who I didn't think was a very good artist. I thought I did a very careful house, you know, with the chimney, and the windows, and the trees, and she was more of an abstract artist. Hers was very loose, and I didn't think it was very good but they decided to pin hers up in the Principal's office. So that was like getting the "A." My mother wanted to know. Why wasn't my picture in that window? I was very wounded and frightened. You know? Why wasn't it in the window? I remember feeling that pressure from the time I was 5 years old.
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Amy Tan

Best-Selling Novelist

I had a partner, a business partner, who ended up cheating me, as a matter of fact. We had signed some papers to have this business together and I worked many long hours and one day we had a disagreement and I said I wanted to do more writing and he said that my strength was in project management. That was like taking care of clients, doing estimates, going after contractors and collecting bills. Horrible stuff. I'm not good at that. I hate that kind of thing. He said, "That's your strength. Writing is your weakest skill." I thought, I can either believe him and just keep doing this I disagreed with him a little bit more forcefully and I said that I get to decide too, because I'm a partner in this. He said, "No you're not," and I said, "What do you mean no, I'm not?" and he said "I never signed the papers." At that point I said I was quitting and he said "You can't quit. I'm firing you." I said, "Go ahead. Fire me." You know, this is my adversity, this is a low point in my life. He said, "So what do you think you're going to do?" I said "I'm going to freelance write." He said, "Oh, fat chance. You'll be lucky if you make a dime."
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Bernie Taupin

Songwriters Hall of Fame

Bernie Taupin: Being here for the last couple of days, and I'm sure I'm going to see more of it today, as these people stand up there and speak, and obviously I've thought about what I'm going to say, and I'm sure a lot of what I'm going to say is what I've said here today to you. Every one of those people has said, "Believe in yourself. Believe in yourself. Follow your heart." You can only recycle those words in so many different ways, but that's really what it is. I mean, sometimes clichés are the honest truth. And I can say no more than that. Because that's all I've done all my life, is I've followed my dreams. I've believed in myself. You've got to have belief in yourself. You've got to have a little bit of an ego. If you don't, if you humble yourself too much, you're going to stumble. You've got to believe that what you do is right, that what you do is good. Heart is what it's all about. You've got to stick with what you believe in. It doesn't matter what you want to do. People come up to me all the time and say, "How do you do what you do?" I don't know how I do what I do. I can't answer that question. I don't know how some guy that comes to my house fixes my air conditioning. That's beyond me. It's like, how the hell did he do that? I don't know if he knows how he does it, but everything is an art. It doesn't matter what you do. Find something. What I do, I don't think you can say, "Okay, I'm going to grow up and be a songwriter." You've got to have something in you, whether it's in your genes or whatever, but there are certain things that have to be there, and you have to nurture them. And again, heart, belief. Go and follow your dreams.
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