1. She was twelve years old when she told Eddie Willers that she would run the railroad when they grew up. She was fifteen when it occurred to her for the first time that women did not run railroads and that people might object. To hell with that, she thought—and never worried about it again.
Dagny does not care about what other people think. Imagine being in a environment where successful women were rare and in an industry dominated by men, Dagny had to work harder and put in more effort, it was not handed to her on a silver platter especially knowing her brother Jim Taggart inherited the Taggart Transcontinental simply because he was born into the family. Yes, people may object to her running a business but she proven to them she can do a much better job than anyone else even under an oppressive regime.
2. Don’t ever get angry at a man for stating the truth.
You need to pick your own battles. Throughout Atlas Shrugged, we see Dagny engaged in countless arguments against the people who simply could not think rationally. She always wins at the end, but the real battle of the intellect was never won because attempts to preach to the wrong crowd simply do not work. We also learn from Dagny that the best way to end an argument is to present facts and make people decide.
3. The sight of an achievement was the greatest gift a human being could offer to others.
Dagny knows how to appreciate achievement. She knew how to recognize able people to do the job she wants and she would do anything to get the best possible people to work for her. She knew that the success of Taggart Transcntinental depends not only on her but also many others who can make it work too.
4. You do not have to depend on any material possessions, they depend on you, you create them, you own the one and only tool of production.
The mind is man’s best tool and Dagny knows it. The achievement of the John Galt line was the product of Dagny’s mind, she had to find the right materials to build the rails, the right materials to build the equipment and the right people to do the job, all these tasks require the use of her mind. She encountered many difficulties during her journey but the result was a success because she was able to deal with the reality.
5. This was reality, she thought, this sense of clear outlines, of purpose, of lightness, of hope.
Never lose your hope. As long as you have a purpose and that you are working toward it, every step of the way is an improvement of the condition from the previous state. Once you learnt to accept reality as it is, everything becomes so much easier to deal with.
6. I started my life with a single absolute: that the world was mine to shape in the image of my highest values and never to be given up to a lesser standard, no matter how long or hard the struggle.
Dagny lived by her standard, never for a second did she live by the standard of another man. She only wants the best and she’ll do anything to get the best because to her, there is no other alternatives. So the question is, are you living every day of your life by the best possible standard which you value, or are you going to just scrap by?
7. You don’t have to see through the eyes of others, hold onto yours, stand on your own judgement, you know that what is, is – say it aloud, like the holiest of prayers and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
We have all struggled through the temptation of becoming a second hander simply because it is that easy to do so. But it is so much harder to hold on to your own convictions. Just be yourself.
8. No matter what her problem, this would always remain to her – this immovable conviction that evil was unnatural and temporary.
Remember that whatever problem you are facing can only be solved by yourself. Dagny is not only an optimist but she’s also a doer, instead of wasting her breathe, she does all that she can to solve her problems on her own.
Dagny Taggart was certainly a woman ahead of her time, she represented what a real independent woman should be like. Who is Dagny Taggart? We all are.