It is said that Thomas Edison fabricated over 10,000 different prototypes of the lightbulb before the invention actually worked. He was asked about his resolve and if he considered himself a failure since it took so long. His response is absolute genius, “I haven’t failed, I simply discovered 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Edison is dubbed the “third most prolific inventor in history.” He holds over 1,000 patents in the US and many in other countries around the world . (source: Thomas Edison) If you read his quotes and stories of his life, he was the eternal optimist. His perspective on daily work was simple, “I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun. ”
You have to enjoy what you do. When you find satisfaction in what you do in daily life, you will be more willing to invest more in it. Simply put, If you like what you do, you will take the risks associated with it. For Edison, as an inventor, he realized that every invention would not be a success. Failure was inevitable. There were plenty of moments where a design flaw would not allow the device to do what it was created to do. It was all in his perspective. He viewed failure as another form of discovery – “Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to, doesn’t mean it is useless.”
Most of us don’t live that way – failure as discovery. We have specific intentions for each experience and decision we face. When something doesn’t live up to our expectation, we throw it out. It begs the question, what are we afraid of? Why don’t we just go with it? Learn from whatever comes our way. Ultimately, it’s a control issue. In the case of Thomas Edison, he expected failure and disappointment, but it didn’t own him. When he failed, he used it as motivation. Failure wasn’t the effect of poor planning. It was a cause to keep trying.
When it comes to risking it all, what are you afraid of? What is it that is keeping you from doing something big or risking everything? Is it the comfort of your current situation? Is it the idea that you have “everything under control?” Are you afraid to fail?
There is a desire in each of us to make a difference in the world; to do something or be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Take time to think about your dream, your desire; the thing that is bigger than you. There is a process to making that dream come true that will require risk and sacrifice. Don’t be scared of the risk, but realize the cost of seeing your dream or desire become a reality. It will cost you something, but it’s worth it. In those moments when failure is inevitable, use it as a learning experience. Don’t waste an opportunity to see things from a different perspective. It might just be the 10,001st experiment that gets it right. And think like Thomas Edison – you haven’t failed, you just discovered 10,000 ways that won’t work.
What are you afraid of? Your dream is waiting…
grace and peace,