My American Journey Quotes

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My American Journey My American Journey by Colin Powell
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My American Journey Quotes Showing 1-17 of 17
“If you get the dirty end of the stick, sharpen it and turn it into a useful tool.”
Colin Powell, My American Journey
“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”
Colin Powell, My American Journey: An Autobiography
“Officers have been trying for hundreds of years to outsmart soldiers and have still not learned that it cannot be done. We can always count on the native ingenuity of the American GI to save us from ourselves, and to win wars.”
Colin Powell, My American Journey: An Autobiography
“All work is honorable. Always do your best, because someone is watching.”
Colin Powell, My American Journey: An Autobiography
“Colin Powell’s Rules It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning. Get mad, then get over it. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it. It can be done! Be careful what you choose. You may get it. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision. You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours. Check small things. Share credit. Remain calm. Be kind. Have a vision. Be demanding. Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”
Colin Powell, My American Journey: An Autobiography
“The infantry’s mission was “to close with and destroy the enemy.” No questions asked. No ambiguity. No gray areas. The infantry officer was to go into battle up front, demonstrating courage, determination, strength, proficiency, and selfless sacrifice.”
Colin Powell, My American Journey: An Autobiography
“There are times when American lives must be risked and lost. Foreign policy cannot be paralyzed by the prospect of casualties. But lives must not be risked until we can face a parent or a spouse or a child with a clear answer to the question of why a member of that family had to die. To provide a “symbol” or a “presence” is not good enough.”
Colin Powell, My American Journey: An Autobiography
“An ADC is a division commander on training wheels. By Army custom, I was at Fort Carson to soak up the skills and mores for division leadership. Some commanding generals are happy to delegate broadly to their ADCs while they sit back and watch. Hudachek stood at the other end of the continuum. I had a sense that he would have been just as happy if his two ADCs disappeared. He ran the division, and we were permitted to study at the master’s knee. Which did not make what I set out to do any easier—or wiser.”
Colin Powell, My American Journey: An Autobiography
“The healthiest competition occurs when average people win by putting in above-average effort.”
Colin Powell, My American Journey: An Autobiography
“At the same time, traditions and rituals remain essential to the military mystique. They instill a sense of belonging and importance in the lives of young soldiers.”
Colin Powell, My American Journey: An Autobiography
“American soldiers must know the reason for their sacrifices. Our GIs are not vassals or mercenaries. They are the nation’s sons and daughters. We put their lives at risk only for worthy objectives. If the duty of the soldier is to risk his life, the responsibility of his leaders is not to spend that life in vain.”
Colin Powell, My American Journey: An Autobiography
“don’t be buffaloed by experts and elites. Experts often possess more data than judgment. Elites can become so inbred that they produce hemophiliacs who bleed to death as soon as they are nicked by the real world.”
Colin Powell, My American Journey: An Autobiography
“Miller’s example of humane leadership that does not always go by the book was not lost on me. When they fall down, pick ’em up, dust ’em off, pat ’em on the back, and move ’em on.”
Colin Powell, My American Journey: An Autobiography
“When we are debating an issue, loyalty means giving me your honest opinion, whether you think I’ll like it or not. Disagreement, at this stage, stimulates me. But once a decision has been made, the debate ends. From that point on, loyalty means executing the decision as if it were your own.”
Colin Powell, My American Journey: An Autobiography
“Even in the grimmest of enterprises there are tension breakers. At one point, the tabloid National Enquirer ran a story headlined “Bush and Saddam Are Cousins” and offered genealogical “proof” that not only was George Bush related to the queen of England, but “Hussein and President Bush share a common ancestry dating back at least to the crusades.” This news prompted the President to circulate a memo to the national security team that said, “No decisions I make will be affected by my relationship with Saddam Hussein. The Queen and I would have it no other way.”
Colin Powell, My American Journey: An Autobiography
“Stop, Look, Listen—then strike hard and fast with all the power you need.”
Colin Powell, My American Journey: An Autobiography
“With vision only, you get no follow-through. With enforcers only, the vision is realized but leaves a lot of wreckage. Good chaplains pick up the pieces and put everything together again.”
Colin Powell, My American Journey: An Autobiography