How Many Fails Did It Take to Invent the Lightbulb?

I think everybody finds it motivating to know that Thomas Edison tried and failed 10,000 times before discovering the proper formula for creating the light bulb.

I’ve been to the seminars.  Remember the guy cheering loudly in the front, high-fiving everyone, and taking notes with different color pens?  That was me.

And whenever someone mentioned the example of Thomas Edison trying 10,000 times without giving up, everyone always clapped their hands and cheered.  Never mind the fact that the vast majority of people went home and didn’t take any action whatsoever.  The ones that did take action quickly became discouraged when they tried one of the suggested methods and it didn’t work.

Let me tell you something I’ve discovered: Most of the stuff you try isn’t going to work out.  You’ll go to the seminars, listen to people’s stories, read the books, memorize the audio programs, get fired up, and then try one of those things and have it blow up in your face.  Get used to it.

But if you try enough things and fail enough times, you will find a handful of things that do work.  They will work better when you do them than you had ever imagined.  You will probably mess up some of the strategies and accidentally stumbled upon something that works quite well.  Even if you do everything completely wrong, every once in awhile you will get lucky and succeed anyway.

This is assuming you are actually willing to take any action at all, and if you do, that you will persevere when you inevitably fail.


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