At this time, with the world economic situation and the inauguration of new US president Barack Obama, I saw this comment and I thought it still very relevant.
Abigail Adams, wife of the second US president John Adams, wrote these words to her 10-year-old son, John Quincy Adams (later the sixth president):
“These are the times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised, and animated by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into life and form the character of the hero and the statesman.”
Quote thanks to Ray Pritchard