Written by Sean McPheat |
Thomas Edison was an American inventor and businessman who has been described as America’s greatest inventor. Although he patented nearly 1,100 ideas, many people remember him for the invention of the long-lasting and practical electric light bulb. So many experiments went into developing the first the carbon and then platinum and finally back to carbon filaments that many wondered if he would ever succeed.
During the mammoth efforts that went into managing the experiments that finally succeeded in 1880, many of his colleagues and others questioned whether this way was really going to work.
On one occasion, a journalist approached Mr Edison in his laboratory and questioned the validity of all this hard work. He said, “Mr Edison, why do you continue in this painful work. You’ve failed over ten thousand times. Don’t you think you should give up?” Thomas’s reply went down in history.
He said, “My dear sir, I have not failed ten thousand times…I have found ten thousand ways that won’t work, so I am ten thousand times closer than anyone else to finding the answer. Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
This is a great motivator for us when we suffer failure. Maybe we haven’t hit our target, or maybe that sure-fire sale has gone belly-up.
Our response to what we consider failure can make or break our resolve and our future focus. We could see failure as all-encompassing and allow it to cause us to stop and take our foot off the peddle. Instead, is there another way of looking at it? Here are some ideas:
1) See every ‘failure’ as a learning opportunity
You could fail and allow it to get you down and miserable. Or you could use it as the springboard to move forward by asking ‘what can I learn from this experience?’
When a failure is seen as an experience, an occurrence and a challenge for the future, it tends to lose its power over you and is seen as the intruder to your positivity that it actually is.
2) Make every failure a stepping-stone towards a success
Think of the failure as something to learn from and another step towards something you could deem a success. Whenever you assess your results and see them as falling short of your standards, then ask yourself ‘How can I use this to build a different road to success? What mindset do I need to have to ensure this result doesn’t happen again?’
3) Use the learning principles of the failure to plan for the first steps to success
Identify what lessons you can pick up. Do you need to work smarter, not harder? Can you link up with others to achieve the goals that will be considered successful for you? Are there things you could do that will attract more success to your working life than failure?
By seeing what changes you need to put into operation, you give yourself the chance to lay the foundation for a more successful outcome, and create a future that you can be proud of.
Thomas Edison’s ideology about failure taking you closer to the goal you are seeking can help us have that positive mindset that can instil a creative and innovative thought process into us, as we plan for success rather than dwelling on failure.
Originally published: 20 August, 2019
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