If you don’t know who Thomas Edison is, you should read up on him as he literally changed the World with his inventions. He is often referred to as one of the World’s Greatest Inventors. That is quite a title to have when you think about how many amazing inventions we have had in the last 10 years let alone 100 – 150 years. There is speculation about his early life that helped to give him his status as the legendary inventor. The story however is part true and part fiction. When describing his early age, people refer to his home schooling as a result of a letter that was sent to his mother about him being labeled ‘mentally deficient’. There are different variations of those words all over the Internet but you get the idea. The real story however, as told by Thomas himself is that he was told he was ‘addled’ and it wasn’t logical to keep him in school any longer.

Thomas then went home in tears and told his mother all about it, who was a teacher herself, and was quite rightly angered by this. She marched back into the school with Thomas in tow and told the teacher he didn’t have a clue what he was talking about and that Thomas had more brains than he did. Oh, how right she was! Thomas was then determined to ensure that her confidence in him was justified and he would go on to work hard through self education and his own entrepreneurial projects along the way.

In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.

Nikos Kazantzakis

When we talk about Thomas Edison, we talk about all the things he created and how brilliant and creative his mind was. What we don’t talk about is just how difficult it was for him to achieve all he did, he had hearing difficulties as a child and almost became deaf as he grew into adulthood. He chose to go above and beyond with regards to his studies and his self education along with the processes he used for learning is what served him so well later on in life.

He started his first Entrepreneurial project at only 12 years of age!

This is a great example of what separates the wildly successful from people that do not go on to achieve their full potential. They are ahead of the game and just go out and do it. He started publishing his own newspaper and it did well with its readership. He saw an opportunity and just went for it. Did he know anything about publishing or writing? Of course not. He just did it and learnt as he went along. The takeaway from this is, if you want to do something but can’t just do it anyway!

 

He found something he was passionate about, dropped everything else and devoted all his time to inventing

This is probably the most important factor when assessing your life, where you are, what you want to do and how you are going to do it. Let’s say you love baking, you spend all your free hours trying different recipes etc. How amazing would it be if you could get paid to do that? Or maybe you love the ballet or yoga, or property investment, or even basketball. This list could go on and on. Now I know to do certain things, like play a professional sport you need a lot of talent, but really there is no limit to what an individual can achieve once the power and will of the mind gets involved. That is a topic for another day, the point I’m trying to make here is, find something you love, make a business out of it and enjoy your life. There is no reason why you should let life pass you by doing the same old boring, unfulfilling job day after day with no sense of passion in what you do. Passion and love can move mountains, it sounds a bit cheesy but how hard would you work if what you did every day made you feel so happy, so full of joy and made you love life? It would feel amazing and you would do the most amazing job of it.

He always looked at the glass as being half full

The big difference between the optimistic man and the pessimistic man is all about point of view, always having a positive twist on what can easily be a negative blow. When we talk about failing, it is considered bad, however Edison looked at failure as the need to find another way of doing something if the first way doesn’t work. The real number is not known but he failed around 1000 times when trying to create the light bulb, he was persistent, he had a vision and he didn’t let anything get in his way. It is very simple, fail forward, keep learning and soon you will get it right. The most important part of failing is to learn from it, try to be as educated as possible about every decision you make and just do it. Failure just shows you how you shouldn’t be doing something. Remember, it’s all about perspective.

Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength

Mahatma Gandhi

He was never content, he went on to own over 1000 patents, always learning and improving

If you are content with your life, you are never going to reach your full potential. I believe everyone has a skill or something they can do better than most people. There are people that find it and people that don’t, the people that don’t are the one’s missing out on living a truly fulfilled life. Success means different things to different people, some want to be rich and some want to travel the world or help a large number of people. The people who are reaching for their version of success, whatever it may be, all have one thing in common, they are not content with being average and want to keep moving forward.

Edison once said “Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.” That gives you an idea of his mindset; never satisfied. If you look at today’s highly successful people, they have the lifestyle, the wealth and all that comes with it, they could retire tomorrow and live comfortably, but they don’t. The reason? They are not satisfied, they love what they do and can do more. What is different between them and the rest of the world? Mindset. That is it, whether you’re a teacher, a cleaner, a banker or a salesman, push for more as you deserve it.

 

If there is only one takeaway from this great inventors example, let it be his mindset. Use the skills you have, leverage whatever you can to create a life of abundance doing what you love. GSY