As part of its 90th Anniversary Celebration, over the next few months the Electrical Wholesaling magazine will be running features on many of the giants of the electrical industry. Who better to feature first than Thomas Edison? This month marks the 135th anniversary of Thomas Edison’s first successful test of an incandescent lightbulb. As one of the greatest inventors of all time and a founder of the modern electrical industry, Edison was by any definition a true genius. Part showman, part engineer and a 100% practical inventor, Edison accumulated 1,093 patents in his lifetime.
He is generally credited with inventing or developing the first practical electric lightbulb, phonograph, motion picture camera and electric generating station, along with a staggering number of lesser-known inventions. These 10 quotes from Thomas Edison offer some insight into how he accomplished as much as he did in his lifetime. It should be no surprise that hard work is a common thread running through most of them.
- Never Underestimate the Power of Persistence: “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work,” he said of his method of experimentation. “When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”
- Your Accomplishments Define You: “What you are will show in what you do."
- Learn from Failure: “Negative results are just what I want. They're just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.”
- Give Employees the Freedom to be Creative: "There are no rules here, we’re trying to accomplish something." — Edison said to engineers in his lab
- Don't Be Afraid to Think Big: “We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.”
- Listen to the Customer: “I find out what the world needs. Then I go ahead and invent it.”
- There is No Substitute for Hard Work: “Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.”
- There Are No Shortcuts to Greatness: “The reason a lot of people do not recognize opportunity is because it usually goes around wearing overalls looking like hard work.”
- Success Doesn't Come Easy: “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
- The Keys to Achieving Anything Worthwhile Haven't Changed in Over 100 Years: “The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are: hard work, ‘stick-to-it-iveness,’ and common sense.”