Thomas Edison was one of the most successful innovators in American history. He is an iconic genius who seemed to magically snatch ideas from thin air.
But he also stumbled – sometimes tremendously. His teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He was fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive.” As an inventor, Edison ran into failure after failure in his attempts to invent the lightbulb.
In response to a question about his many missteps over the course of his life, Edison said,
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
The more we step into a dream by taking daily action, the more we learn that success and failure are merely a state of mind reflecting our willingness to stay on the path.
So, how can we, like Thomas Edison, see the success in all of our endeavors? It’s simple. We shift our attention to what each of our experiences can teach us about ourselves. This requires that we become both curious and humble to the fact that we are at the center of all of our experiences. We have played a role in all of what is unfolding in front of us.
We can choose to see any event as a success or a failure. The things that happen to us are merely feedback to our actions. They teach us what worked and what didn’t. It’s up to us whether we will fully glean the lesson of that feedback and use it as a stepping stone or whether we will miss the lesson and remain stuck.
Edison’s light bulb was just one of millions of successes that occurred when an individual moved one step beyond a perceived failure. The great author Napoleon Hill wrote,
“In every adversity is the seed of an equal or greater good.”
It’s incumbent then, that we plant and nurture the seed of opportunity that the failure presents.
What walls to success appear to be in your way today? Have you considered that those stumbling blocks may be the very opportunities that have shown up to guide you to the success you seek? While the lessons that come through “feedback” may sometimes feel painful, we can harness their power when we choose to stay on the path and keep taking action.
Don’t give up!