Three Secret Motivational Methods of Thomas Edison

Do you every find yourself feeling beaten down by the continue complaints of users, security patches that must be applied and new information you must learn? If you do, you're just like every other technologist and you need a good dose of motivation. If you want to get motivated, study motivated individuals. Thomas Edison had to be one of the most highly motivated men in history. He was also a techie – for his day. He would not give up. May this article be a tribute to him and all who follow the motivational path.

Thomas Edison had just completed a successful test of his Marvelous Talking Machine (the phonograph) when he said these words:

I was always afraid of things that worked first time.
– Thomas Edison

This quote is an excellent starting point for our discussion. I want to talk about motivation. In this article I will reveal three ways to keep your motivation high and become a success in any area you desire.

Thomas Edison is the perfect example of motivation. After hundreds of attempts he finally found success when creating his version of the incandescent light bulb. Here is another quote from Mr. Edison:

I speak without exaggeration when I say I have constructed 3000 different theories in connection with the electric light, yet in only two cases did my experiments prove the truth of my theory.
– Thomas Edison

With this kind of motivation, I think we can certainly learn something from the man. Here are three motivational methods that I have observed in the life of Thomas Edison:

• Maintaining A Dream
• Learning From Failure
• Managing Time

Let's investigate each of these individually.

Maintaining A Dream

I have more respect for the fellow with a single idea who gets there than for the fellow with a thousand ideas who does nothing.
– Thomas Edison

Well said, Mr. Edison.

There is more to maintaining a dream than professing it. Everyone knows that maintenance of anything requires work. We must learn to work our dreams.

There was a time in my career when I dreamed of success in sales as a seminar speaker. I was working for a company that required the sales of resources at the seminars I delivered. I dreamed of what it would be like to sell more than my peers were selling. I dreamed about the feeling of that success. Then I discovered dream maintenance.

I began reading books about selling. I must have devoured five or six books in a two week period. Next I began to think through my goals. How many of this would I have to sell? How much of that? Finally I planned my words carefully. I considered objections that might arise and formulated responses.

Do you know what the result was? Simple. I became the number one sales person on the staff. This is maintaining a dream.

As the single idea drove Thomas Edison to the creation of the incandescent light bulb after hundreds of failures, so let your ideas push you beyond your imaginable limits.

Learning From Failure

If I find 10,000 ways something won't work, I haven't failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward. Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless.
– Thomas Edison

I like the perspective of Mr. Edison. He never failed, he only learned. I say that we should learn from failure, he said he doesn't ever fail, that he only takes another step toward success. Either way you look at it, you have to keep pursuing your dream.

I watched my son as he attempted to place a simple crayon into a crayon box recently. This crayon box had small circular holes to place the crayons in. He tried placing the crayon in on its side two or three times with no success, but he did not give up. He then tried placing the crayon in with the sharpened end down and noticed that it looked different from the rest of the crayons in the box. So he pulled the crayon out and flipped it over. Success!

You see, he learned from his failure. He continued until he found success. Persistence is a powerful tool you and I must learn.

An incident in Thomas Edison's youth demonstrates the willingness to learn from failure rather than to quit. When Thomas Edison was twelve years old he took a job as a train boy. He sold newspapers and candy to passengers. He saved all his money and purchased chemicals and tools for his lab.

Eventually the railroad company allowed him to create a lab in a baggage car so he could perform his tests during layovers. One day, the train lurched, and Edison's chemicals dispersed throughout the baggage car. A fire resulted, and Edison was kicked off the train.

Thomas Edison did not quit his experiments. He simply quit experimenting in moving train cars.

Managing Time

The thing I lose patience with the most is the clock. Its hands move too fast. Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the one thing that he can't afford to lose.
– Thomas Edison

When you feel that your day has been wasted, it is a real motivational sap. It just sucks the positive motivational attitude right out of you.

What are you to do? How can you solve this dilemma?

The easiest way is to reclaim wasted time.

Let me say something clearly here. Personal time is not wasted time. Time with your family is not wasted time. Time alone for personal refreshment is not wasted time. Wasted time is time you spend doing things that will not help you reach any goal that you have. Or, as I mentioned before, any dream that you are pursuing.

Reclaim this time in one easy step. Do you want to know what that step is?

There is no $99.97 package that you need to buy. No two-day seminar to sign-up for (though neither of these would hurt). You simply need to plan your day.

It is estimated that one hour of planning can save three or four hours of work. This is a simple way to reclaim your time.

In closing, let me quote Mr. Edison a few more times. Listen to how he summarized his thoughts on success:

The three things that are essential to achievement are hard work, stick-to-it-iv-ness, and common sense…

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work…

There seems to be no limit to which some men will go to avoid the labor of thinking. Thinking is hard work…

Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration…

A genius is a talented person who does his homework. I never did anything worth doing by accident…
– Thomas Edison

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