Inspiration from Thomas Edison
Estimated Lesson Time: 3 minutes
Thomas Edison (1847-1931) was one of the greatest inventors of all time.
Success is desiring knowledge. From the age of 4, Thomas Edison was known for his thirst for knowledge. This desire led his parents to introduce him to the public library at age 11, where he developed the preference of learning by self-instruction.
Success is acting on opportunity. At age 14, Edison used the information he got from working at a railroad station to publish his own weekly flyer, which ended up having hundreds of subscribers and making over $10 a day (big bucks back in the late 19th century).
Success is seeing the good in less than desirable situations. By age 14, Edison lost almost all of his hearing and was legally deaf. He naturally accepted his fate and quickly adapted his learning methods. In fact, when doctors offered him an operation that would almost certainly restore his hearing, he refused because he feared that the “added noise” would hamper his concentration in his now silent and peaceful world.
Success is imminent the moment true desire is established. In his late teens, Edison returned home to find his mother mentally ill and his father out of work and about to lose their home. It was at this point in his life when he made the commitment that he MUST succeed and make some serious money.
Success is learning from your failures. Edison’s first “legitimate” invention was an electric vote-recording machine that, despite its brilliance, was too far ahead of its time to be marketable and did not sell. Edison learned a valuable lesson in marketing, and from this point on, he vowed he would “never waste time inventing things that people would not want to buy.”
Success is a result of past actions that eventually are seen as valuable by others. Edison spent years tinkering with the telegraph, the quadruplex transmitter, the stock-ticker, and other devices, all in his spare time. Then one day, to his complete amazement, a corporation paid him $40,000 for all of his rights to the stock-ticker. This apparent “overnight” success that served as a major turning point in Edison’s life was a result of years of earlier work.
Success is inspired by healthy competition. In 1879, extremely disappointed by the fact that Bell had beaten him in the race to patent the first authentic transmission of the human voice, Edison now surpassed all of his competition by inventing the first commercially practical incandescent electric light bulb, which as we know, dramatically changed the way we all live today.
Success is a pattern that never quits. Edison obtained his last patent, his 1093rd, at the age of 83. This was less than a year before his death.
Success is perseverance. Edison is the role model for perseverance. While working on the nickel/iron storage battery, he performed 10,295 failed experiments before achieving success. In addition, almost every one of his failed inventions was followed by a success. Edison knew very well the key element of success—perseverance.
[Sources: http://www.thomasedison.com, http://www.incwell.com, http://www.biography.com]
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)