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General Colin Powell on Success

Colin Powell

July 2013, Retired US General Colin Powell was asked to speak at a President's Breakfast hosted by Westmont College.

During a panel discussion he was asked, “Do you think that a great American success story like yours is still possible for American children growing up in present times?” the students asked. Most people don't know that Powell grew up in New York City in an immigrant family.

“Of course it is,” he said. “Nothing changes. There’s an American success story every single day in this country, a thousand of them. American success is young people who are willing to go after it. Young people who have prepared themselves through a quality education. Young people who have a dream and believe and work hard and believe in America.

“Find something that you really love doing. If you do it well, that’s it. I went in the Army because it was something I loved doing, and I did it well, and I was serving my country. One thing led to another. People say, ‘What was the greatest award you got?’ I don’t think like that. My success and my satisfaction in life came from what I did every day. Every day I worked hard, and I did what I was supposed to do. I didn’t need to be a general; I didn’t need to get medals. I just needed to be able to serve successfully every day. Don’t think that real success ever comes from position or money. It comes from doing right, doing well, serving your fellow men and women, and believing that you are providing a service, and that you are a success.”

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