Two renowned scientists and a top athlete revealed their secrets of success at a youth forum recently. The speakers named preparation, persistence, passion and patience as being essential to success. They shared their tips with an audience of 300 at the Young Leaders' Forum organised by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups. China's first Winter Olympics gold medallist Yang Yang passed on simple but valuable advice: 'My coach once said, 'Opportunities are reserved only for the well-prepared'.' Other guest speakers were Yuan Jiajun who supervised the Shenzhou III unmanned spacecraft project, and Professor Cao Xuetao, known for his research on immunology and genetics. To Mr Yuan, 39, preparation was more than studying hard. High moral standards, learning from and working with others and keeping fit were also important. 'And don't limit yourself to [learning] what is 'hot'. Five or six years ago people rushed to learn information technology, thinking it was the only field with a good future. That was wrong,' he said. Persistence and passion were crucial, said Professor Cao. 'Young people are burning with passion. Scientists are most creative and productive between the ages of 22 and 35,' he said. 'Direct that passion into a field you like.' Professor Cao urged youngsters to keep raising their sights and to be persistent even when failure loomed. Last but not least: patience. 'Don't think of reaching the sky in one step. Handle every little task well, and progress step-by-step,' Mr Yuan said.