What is the recipe for successful achievement? To my mind there are just four essential ingredients: Choose a career you love . . . Give it the best there is in you . . . Seize your opportunities And be a member of the team. In no country but America, I believe, is it possible to fulfill all four of these requirements.
Don't be proud of what you know, and don't be self-confident if you are learned. Be open to advice from the unlearned as well as from the learned. Art knows no limit, and the artists will never achieve perfection.
Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness -not pain or mindless self-indulgence - is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.
I could say to you that I have done more good for my fellow man than you can ever hope to accomplish - but I will not say it, because I do not seek the good of others as a sanction for my right to exist, nor do I recognize the good of others as a justification for their seizure of my property or their destruction of my life. I will not say that the good of others was the purpose of my work - my own good was my purpose, and I despise the man who surrenders his. I could say to you that you do not serve the public good - that nobody's good can be achieved at the price of human sacrifices - that when you violate the rights of one man, you have violated the rights of all, and a public of rightless creatures is doomed to destruction. I could say that you that you will and can achieve nothing but universal devastation - as any looter must, when he runs out of victims. I could say it, but I won't. It is not your particular policy that I challenge, but your moral premise.
It is said that [Robin Hood] fought against the looting rulers and returned the loot to those who had been robbed, but that is not the meaning of the legend which has survived. He is remembered, not as a champion of property, but as a champion of need, not as a defender of the robbed, but as a provider of the poor. He is held to be the first man who assumed a halo of virtue by practicing charity with wealth which he did not own, by giving away goods which he had not produced, by making others pay for the luxury of his pity. He is the man who became the symbol of the idea that need, not achievement, is the source of rights, that we don't have to produce, only to want, that the earned does not belong to us, but the unearned does. He became a justification for every mediocrity who, unable to make his own living, had demanded the power to dispose of the property of his betters, by proclaiming his willingness to devote his life to his inferiors at the price of robbing his superiors.
She looked at the crowd and she felt, simultaneously, astonishment that they should stare at her, when this event was so personally her own that no communication about it was possible, and a sense of fitness that they should be here, that they should want to see it, because the sight of an achievement was the greatest gift a human being could offer to others.
I want you to observe, that those who cry the loudest about their disillusionment, about the failure of virtue, the futility of reason, the impotence of logic - are those who have achieved the full, exact, logical result of the ideas they preached, so mercilessly logical that they dare not identify it. In a world that proclaims the non-existence of the mind, the moral righteousness of rule by brute force, the penalizing of the competent in favour of the incompetent, the sacrifice of the best to the worst - in such a world, the best have to turn against society and have to become it's deadliest enemies.
If it were true that men could achieve their good by means of turning some men into sacrificial animals, and . . . if I were asked to serve the interests of society apart from, above and against my own I would refuse. . . . I would fight in the full confidence of the justice of my battle and of a living being's right to exist.