Edison and the Light Bulb
Failure is a natural part of the creative process!
Thomas Edison, the American inventor, is thought of as being one of the most creative and intelligent men in history – and yet, the history books tell us that he attended his school in Michigan for only three months before being expelled at the age of 12 because his teachers thought he was ‘educationally subnormal’. In later years, Edison was to become famous for his saying ‘genius is 1 per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration’.
This was certainly true for him in his attempts to convert electricity into light, one of his most famous endeavours. He was reputed to have tried and failed over 1,000 times to perfect the incandescent electric light bulb, and when advised by his colleagues and friends to give up the whole project because it was doomed to failure, replied with total conviction and some surprise: ‘Why, I haven’t failed; I’ve just found a thousand ways in which my formula doesn’t work!’
It was as much Edison’s positive and tenacious attitude to endeavour and problem solving as his obvious intelligence and creativity that, in the end, were his most powerful allies.
(Source: Tales for Coaching, p.109)
Moral: There is no failure – only feedback!
- What represents the ‘light bulb’ that you are currently trying to invent?
- What projects have you given up because you thought you had failed? Could they be rekindled?
Manuela Zeitlhofer | Mental Fitness Coach