What I learned from reading Yeager: An Autobiography by General Chuck Yeager.
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[10:14] I was a competitive kid. I always tried to do my best. I never thought of myself as being poor or deprived in any way. We managed to scrape by. Kids learned self-sufficiency. Mom and Dad taught us by example. They never complained. I had certain standards that I lived by. Whatever I did, I determined to do the best I could at it.
[13:22] The sense of speed and exhilaration makes you so damned happy that you want to shout for joy.
[17:15] In nearly every case the worst pilots die by their own stupidity.
[26:04] I sensed that he was a very strong and determined person, a poor boy who had started with nothing and would show the world what he was really made of.
[38:48] Every muscle in my body is hammering at me. I just want to let go of his guy and drop in my tracks—either to sleep or to die. I don’t know why I keep hold of him and struggle to climb. It’s the challenge, I guess, and a stubborn pride knowing that most guys would’ve let go of Pat before now.
[40:57] Chuck is the most stubborn bastard in the world, who doesn’t dabble in gray areas. He sees in black and white. He simply said, “I’m not going home.”
[45:26] The Germans began to come up to challenge us and ran into a goddamn West Virginia buzzsaw.
[50:30] If you love the hell out of what you’re doing, you’re usually pretty good at it, and you wind up making your own breaks. I wasn’t a deep, sophisticated person, but I lived by a basic principle: I did only what I enjoyed. I wouldn’t let anyone derail me by promises of power or money into doing things that weren’t interesting to me.
[55:38] Yeager would rely on himself. I couldn’t teach him enough.
[1:03:31] My life was flying and pilots. I didn’t spend a whole helluva lot of time doing or thinking about anything else. We were an obsessed bunch, probably because we were so isolated.
[1:17:29] Living to a ripe old age is not an end in itself; the trick is to enjoy the years remaining. And unlike flying, learning how to take pleasure from living can’t be taught. Unfortunately, many people do not consider fun an important item on their daily agenda. For me, that was always high priority in whatever I was doing.
[1:18:22] I’ve never lost the curiosity about things that interest me. I’m very good at the activities I most enjoy, and that part has made my life that much sweeter. I haven’t yet done everything, but by the time I’m finished, I won’t have missed much. If I auger in tomorrow, it won’t be with a frown on my face. I’ve had a ball.
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