What Can Thomas Edison Teach Us About Success (through Failure)

life lessons from thomas edison

Failure happens. It happens all the time, to everyone, and sometimes can have a bad effect on us depending on the way we react to it.

Failure, like many other things, is something we have got used to through the years. To some it has become a lifestyle, an ingrained habit we just can’t break if we don’t have the right mindset.

The greatest example, when it comes down to failure, is the American inventor Thomas Edison.
He failed more than 10,000 times (I am still amazed at that number!) before he created the light bulb.

That makes him a true example of perseverance.

What helped him was understanding a few things – defining success and failure, realizing the inevitable connection between them, never giving up, working hard, believing in himself and his ideas.

Of course, in many situations things looked so hopeless and pointless that the average person would have given up on his work. But not him.

Many people told him that he is wasting his time, his faith and confidence were sometimes on the verge of being gone, but he succeeded. Many times.

The fruits of his labor were 1093 patents, including the bulb, the phonograph, the motion picture camera, the printing telegraph apparatus, typewriting machines, telephones and many other things we can’t live without today.

If it wasn’t for him and other great people in the history – leaders, scientists, businessmen, inventors and so on – we wouldn’t have electricity, running water, cars, TV, computers and all the other things that make our life comfortable and easy.

Imagine what the world would be like if every one of them just gave up on his ideas to try something new, to change the world and help people. Just imagine…

Failure must be understood perfectly in order for us to be successful and follow our dreams.

So let’s analyze Thomas Edison’s way of thinking by taking a look at his words.

1. ” I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

He accepts failure. He finds its positive side and realizes that it is something as normal as success. And thus we need to learn how to fail before we learn how to succeed.

2. “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

Giving up is what stopped many people from becoming more, from achieving greatness and changing the world.

Giving up is the state in which our mind shows the white flag, in which it’s easier for us not to move on, not to try one more time and to just listen to the naysayers.

But we can all overcome that point. We can keep believing because everything around us is an example of what happens if someone keeps pushing.

The answer is to just try one more time.

Do it without thinking too much, without analyzing the situation, without listening to the others and without fearing the chance of failing again.

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3. “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

Remember that no matter what you have achieved so far, no matter how experienced or educated you are and no matter where you come from and where you’re going, you can get what you want by working hard.

[tweetthis]Hard work combined with focus will always have results. So perspire and success will come.[/tweetthis]

4. “There’s a way to do it better – find it.”

As human beings we can change our body and mind however we want. It’s not easy – it never is, but once we’ve done it right, nothing will be able to stand in our way.

Whatever we do, there is always a chance to do it better.

We are born to thrive, improve and evolve and that is why we have to try again and again if we really want something.

5.” When I have fully decided that a result is worth getting I go ahead of it and make trial after trial until it comes.”

You need to know whether your idea is worth it or not. And if it is – never give up on it until you succeed.

Create it in your mind first, reach success there before you actually do it.

And then, after putting in enough effort, after dedicating time and energy, you will start seeing results. You will see your idea in reality and the moment you see someone using what you’ve invented and how it helps people live better – you will know that all the sweat was worth it.

6. “We don’t know a millionth of one percent about anything.”

Realize and accept how much you don’t know and how more you have to learn.

Every time you try you can fail because of not knowing how to do it right. But that can be changed.

You can learn new things every day and do your best to become professional in your field. Then you will know exactly what to do and how to do it and this time failure won’t be an option.

7. “It is astonishing what an effort it seems to be for many people to put their brains definitely and systematically to work.”

Focus!

Only a concentrated man can work adequately.
Only a concentrated mind can think of a thousand ways to do one thing and each one of them can be brilliant.

You may be able to work for days without resting, but you are wasting your time if you don’t stay focused.
And sometimes only 60 minutes of concentration a day can bring the best results.

Have these statements in mind next time you try to do something. Remember that failure is a state of mind, just like success, and that makes it something we can control.

Without failure, we can’t succeed. They are connected in a way we can understand only if we accept the former in order to reach the latter.

So here is a summary of the important lessons Thomas Edison wants every generation to learn:

  •  Accept failure;
  •  Never give up;
  •  Work hard;
  •  Find a better way to do it;
  •  Try until you succeed;
  •  Learn and improve so that you don’t fail next time;
  •  Stay focused.

What else can you suggest? How do you handle failure?

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