Text A Never, ever give up!
1 As a young boy, Britain's great Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, attended a public school called Harrow. He was not a good student, and had he not been from a famous family, he probably would have been removed from the school for deviating from the rules. Thankfully, he did finish at Harrow and his errors there did
not preclude him from going on to the university. He eventually had a premier army career whereby he was later elected prime minister. He achieved fame for his wit, wisdom, civic duty, and abundant courage in his refusal to surrender during the miserable dark days of World War II. His amazing determination helped motivate his entire nation and was an inspiration worldwide.
2 Toward the end of his period as prime minister, he was invited to address the patriotic young boys at his old school, Harrow. The headmaster said, "Young gentlemen, the greatest speaker of our time, will be here in a few
days to address you, and you should obey whatever sound advice he may give you." The great day arrived. Sir Winston stood up, all five feet, five inches and 107 kilos of him, and gave this short, clear-cut speech: "Young men, never give up. Never give up! Never give up! Never, never, never, never!"
3 Personal history, educational opportunity, individual dilemmas — none of these can inhibit a strong spirit committed to success. No task is too hard. No amount of preparation is too long or too difficult. Take the example
of two of the most scholarly scientists of our age, Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison. Both faced immense obstacles and extreme criticism. Both were called "slow to learn" and written off as idiots by their teachers. Thomas Edison ran away from school because his teacher whipped him repeatedly for asking too many questions. Einstein didn't speak fluently until he was almost nine years old and was such a poor student that some thought he was unable to learn. Yet both boys' parents believed in them. They worked intensely each day with their sons, and the boys learned to never bypass the long hours of hard work that they needed to succeed. In the end, both Einstein and Edison overcame their childhood persecution and went on to achieve magnificent discoveries that benefit the entire world today.
4 Consider also the heroic example of Abraham Lincoln, who faced substantial hardships, failures and repeated misfortunes in his lifetime. His background was certainly not glamorous. He was raised in a very poor
family with only one year of formal education. He failed in business twice, suffered a nervous breakdown when his
first love died suddenly and lost eight political elections. Later in life, he suffered profound grief over the tragic
death of three of his four children. Yet his strong will was the spur that pushed him forward, strengthening his optimism, dedication and determination. It intensified and focused his efforts and enabled him to triumph over the overwhelming failures and profound difficulties in his life. A hundred years later, people from around the world commend Abraham Lincoln as the greatest American president of all time.
5 Just like Churchill and Lincoln, only those who "keep their eyes on the prize", those who uphold a committed and focused will and spirit, will find their endeavors successful. Many artists, statesmen, writers and inventors have had the same experience. They achieved prosperity because they possessed a fierce will to keep preparing and working and a passion to succeed. They attained success, not because it was easy, but because they had the will to overcome profound obstacles and to work diligently in the pursuit of their goals.
6 After growing up on a cattle ranch without running water or electricity, Sandra Day O'Connor fought to achieve the best education possible. Consistently graduating at the top of her class, she worked her way into Stanford Law School, where she graduated with honors. But despite all of her hard work, Sandra Day O'Connor
was still a woman in the 1950s. Even with the prestige of her degree from Stanford, she was rejected from the entire law circuit as firms preferred to hire less qualified men rather than risk hiring a female lawyer, which was unprecedented. Yet Sandra Day O'Connor refused to give up on her dreams. Through sheer persistence she was eventually nominated and then appointed the first woman Supreme Court Justice of the United States of America. There, she acted as a crucial vote on issues like abortion and women's rights.
7 Many people simply say that they want something, but they do not expend the substantial effort required to achieve it. Many people let the threat of failure stop them from trying with all of their heart. The secret of success is based upon a burning inward desire — a robust, fierce will and focus — that fuels the determination to act, to keep
preparing, to keep going even when we are tired and fail. As a wise saying goes: "It's not how many times you fall down that matters. It's how many times you get back up that makes success!"
8 Focus on becoming more knowledgeable. Focus on gradual, consistent progress. Maintain the strong will to keep going — even when you are tired and want to slack or the odds seem too large. "Keep your eyes on the prize!" "Where there's a will, there's a way!" With hard work, determination, dedication and preparation, you can transcend any handicap, accomplish any feat, and achieve success!
Text B Chance favors the prepared
1 Les Brown and his twin brother were adopted by Mamie Brown, a kitchen worker, shortly after their birth in
a poverty-stricken Miami neighborhood.
2 Because of his overactive behavior and nonstop talking as a child, Les was placed in special education classes for the learning disabled all the way through high school. Upon graduation, he became a garbage collector. The prospective opportunities for his future looked slim to others, but not to Les. He had a passion, a dream — a big dream that he was ready to work hard for. He was destined to be a disc jockey, also known as a "DJ", one of the radio celebrities mixing music broadcasts for the whole city.
3 At night he would take a radio to bed so he could indulge his dream by listening to the local DJs. He created
an imaginary radio station in his tiny bedroom. A hairbrush served as his microphone as he energetically practiced speaking his masterpieces to his imaginary listeners.
4 He aggravated his friends with his constant practicing. They all told him that he didn't have a chance and he would never be a DJ. They scorned him and said to stop dreaming and focus on the real world. Nonetheless, Les
didn't let their negativity stop him. He kept his goals close to his heart and remained wrapped up in his own world, completely absorbed in preparing for his future, preparing to live his dream as a renowned DJ.
5 One day Les decided to take the initiative and begin with this enterprise. He boldly went to the local radio station and told the station manager he understood the layout of the station and was ready to be a disc jockey.
6 The manager looked dubiously at the untidy young man in overalls and a straw hat and inquired, "Do you
have any expertise in broadcasting?"
7 Les replied, "No sir, I don't."
8 "Well, son, I'm afraid we don't have a job for you then," he responded bluntly. So, Les' first chance at success had been a complete bust.
9 Les was determined. He adored his adoptive mother, Mamie Brown, and was careful with his money to try
and buy her nice things. Despite everyone's discouragement, she believed in him and had taught him to pursue his goals and persist in his dreams no matter what others said.
10 So, in spite of what the station manager had originally said, Les returned to the station every day for a week. His persistence was very persuasive, and the station manager finally gave in and took Les on to do small tasks — at no pay. Les brought coffee and food. He catered to their every need at work and worked overtime whenever necessary. Eventually, his enthusiasm won their confidence and they would send Les in their Cadillac to pick up celebrities, not knowing that he didn't even have a driver's license!
11 While hanging out with the station's real DJs, Les taught himself their posture and hand movements on the control panel. He stayed around the studio, soaking up whatever knowledge he could. He was disciplined; back in
his bedroom at night, he faithfully practiced in anticipation of the opportunity he knew would come.
12 One afternoon at work, the DJ named Rock started to feel very sick while on the air. Les was the only person around, and he realized that Rock was coughing and losing his voice. Les stayed close in case there was some way he might help alleviate his co-worker's distress. He also worried that the illness was sure to doom this broadcast.
13 Finally, when the phone rang, Les grabbed it. It was the station manager, as he knew it would be.
14 "Les, this is Mr. Klein. I don't think Rock can finish his program."
15 "Yes," he murmured, "I know."
16 "Would you call one of the other deejays to come in and take over?"
17 "Yes, sir, I sure will."
18 But try as he might, none of the regular DJs were available. MC Cormick and DJ Slick were both out of
town for the weekend and DJ Neil was also feeling sick. It seemed that the radio station was in big trouble.
19 Frantic with distress, Les called the general manager. "Mr. Klein, I can't find nobody," Les said.
20 Mr. Klein then asked, "Young man, do you know how to work the controls in the studio?"
21 "Yes sir," replied Les, grinning with the sudden opportunity. He didn't even blink before he called his mother and his friends. "You all go out on the front porch and turn up the radio because I'm about to come on the
air!" he said.
22 Les rushed into the booth, hoisted Rock onto a nearby couch, and sat down in his place. He was ready. He flipped on the microphone and eloquently rapped, "Look out! This is me, LB, Les Brown! There were none before
me and there will be none after me. Therefore, that makes me the one and only. Young and single and love to
mingle. Qualified to bring you satisfaction, a whole lot of action. Look out, baby, I'm your lovin' man."
23 Because of his preparation, Les was ready. He had dazzled the audience and heard applause from his general manager. From that fateful beginning, Les was propelled to become an icon in broadcasting, politics, public speaking and television.
Text A Swimming through fear
1 I was on a tour of France with my friends when our car pulled to a stop at the beach and we saw the
Mediterranean Sea. Massive waves surged against large rocks that formed a waterproof jetty. People said this beach was known for its notorious rip currents. I shivered with fear. Nothing scared me as much as water.
2 Just the sight of the sea made me sick to my stomach.
3 I'd always loved water and been a good swimmer until last summer, when I'd decided to climb up to the highest diving board at the pool. I'd hopped from that height and hit the water with an incredible impact. The air
was ousted from my lungs and I blacked out. The next thing I knew, my brother was pulling my feeble body out of
the pool. From then on, my fear wouldn't recede; I was absolutely terrified of water.
4 "Jason, are you coming?" my friend, Matt, called.
5 "Yeah," I said. "Just enjoying the view," from dry land, I added silently, worried they might deem my fear pathetic if they knew.
6 Suddenly I heard shouting in French. A mob of people were running into the sea, fully clothed. That's odd, I thought.
7 I glimpsed something moving up and down amid the waves, past the end of the jetty. I gasped, realizing the catastrophe with horror. That's a little boy out there! The would-be rescuers fought against the tide, but the situation was bleak. With the water's tow, they'd never get to him in time.
8 I looked back at the boy. His head popped up, then a wave crashed over him and he disappeared for a moment; I had to intervene.
9 I appraised the situation and realized — the jetty! The boy was close to it; maybe I could help from there. I raced down the beach, out onto the jetty, and it hit me: Water! My palms got sweaty and my stomach felt sick, symptoms of my fear. I stopped short.
10 The people in the water had underestimated the waves and weren't making any progress. I was the only one who saw that going out on the jetty was the fastest way to reach the drowning boy. Yet in the midst of this tragedy, I was extremely terrified. I tried to remember the lifeguard training I'd had as a teenager.
11 I was paralyzed with fear, but I forced myself to move forward with this impromptu rescue. I don't want
this. Surely someone else can save him before I have to.
12 At the ridge of the jetty, I whirled around, convinced I'd see an athletic swimmer plowing through the rough water toward the boy. To my dismay, no one was there. I turned back out to the sea to see the boy battered by vicious waves about 25 yards away from me. Sucking in a deep breath, I threw myself into the water. As soon as I jumped in, I felt like I was back in that pool, breathless, struggling, terrified. Salt stung my eyes. Focus, I shouted
in my head. Where is he?
13 Then, with clarity, I saw a thin arm waving weakly a few yards away. I swam with all my strength, reaching
the boy just as he sank below the surface. I grabbed his arm and pulled. He popped back up, eyes wide with terror, pawing and twisting against me. "Repose (Calm down)!" I commanded the boy in French. His struggling would
derail any rescue attempt, and we'd both perish. "Repose!" I commanded again. Thankfully, this time he listened,
and was still.
14 When I turned back toward shore a wave pounded over us. The jetty was further away! The rip current! It
was forcibly dragging us out to the sea. I fought to get us back to land, but made little progress. I knew I'd never be able to escort him back like this.
15 Desperate to survive, I remembered what I'd learned in my life saving class: Never, ever swim against the
rip current! Swim sideways to the pull of the current and slowly make your way back toward shore. It was an odd-looking but practicable solution. Swim sideways and float to rest. Swim sideways and float to rest. We did that