Everything I Learned About Entrepreneurialism I Learned From Thomas Edison

“It’s never been done that way before, Thomas.” Oh how many times had he heard that before? Yet here he sat in his laboratory trying just one more time to perfect his idea.

“Thomas, why not give up, your laboratory has burned down. Isn’t that saying something?” There they were again, constantly complaining. Yet he would rebuild and create something new then he kept creating, and in so many ways the world was never the same.

That creative mind was Thomas Alva Edison and he came to be known as “The Wizard of Menlo Park”. This entrepreneur was responsible for such inventions as the phonograph, light bulbs and electric power distribution among other things.

“Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

Edison was a single father for a time and knew what it was like to provide for his family in difficult times. His first wife, Mary, died thirteen years after they married.

At the end of Edison’s life he held more than 1,000 patents for various inventions and improvements he brought to the world. Some were little remembered while others are part of a well-recited legacy.

This inventor was a consummate entrepreneur. He could see existing products and find ways to make them better. He found better uses for existing products with a few alterations and he steadfastly refused to give up in the face of adversity.

Not all of his contemporaries found Edison to be an appropriate poster child for scientific exploration and success. Nikola Tesla, a contemporary of Edison’s said following the death of the inventor, “I was almost a sorry witness of his doings, knowing that just a little theory and calculation would have saved him 90 per cent of the labor. But he had a veritable contempt for book learning and mathematical knowledge, trusting himself entirely to his inventor’s instinct and practical American sense.”

What Edison may not have known in education was made up for in dogged determination – something he owned in abundance. Edison did not let that which he did not know affect that which he wanted to accomplish. Edison’s life is an incredible object lesson for those involved in entrepreneurialism today. Never let difficulties deter you from seeking a new solution, never let road blocks stop you from checking new routes and always envision where you want to be so when you get there you will not be surprised.

“I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun. “ – Thomas A. Edison

Edison learned what most of us only dare to hope – following a passionate pursuit of life often yields its own rewards. We each have interests that can be reshaped to include the entrepreneurial spirit and potential business success while doing the very things we enjoy most. The passion we hide is often the passion that can provide the greatest boost to our morale and may provide the courage we need to take the nest step.

“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” – Thomas A. Edison