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Part 5: Inspiring People
Home-schooled because of poor academic performance,
Thomas Edison was never expected to impress anyone,
and yet became one of the greatest inventors of all time.
Many speculate his learning trouble was because Edison
was partially deaf. He strongly believed that his success
(later in life) was not a result of being an intellectual: but
rather a result of hard work.
Edison worked extremely hard, and at just twelve years
old he became an entrepreneur – selling fruit, snacks and
newspapers on a train. He even started printing his own
newspaper, The Grand Trunk Herald.
As a teenager Thomas Edison trained as a telegraph
operator. He was excellent at his job. During the Civil
War he was asked to work for the Union Army. As a
hobby Edison pulled things apart to see how they
worked. His curiosity as to how mechanical systems
work inspired him
to create inventions
of his own.
Edison devoted great time and effort
to his inventions, and after his first
invention – the electric vote recorder
– failed, he decided to devote more
time and effort to his inventions, and so moved to New
York. There he had his lucky break: improving the
efficiency of the stock ticker. Shortly after, his company
started manufacturing Edison’s innovation in New Jersey.
This was the first of many successful inventions.
Edison and his employees were often forced to work
through the night to create his works. The hard work paid
off – two of Edison’s three greatest works were invented
during that time. When Thomas Edison married his second
wife, Mida, they bought an expansive house in New
Jersey. He built a sizable laboratory that would later
become as famous as Edison himself. Edison spent all his
time in this lab, once working for three days straight –
only taking short naps.
Edison truly believed that you were only as successful as
the amount of work you are willing to put in, working until
the day he died (18 October 1931) at the age of 84. Not
only did he invent new products, but he also improved
various others along the way. For example, he worked on
the phonograph and X-rays several times. Although he will
be remembered as a genius, Edison did not believe he was
one, maintaining that you have to work hard to make your
dreams a reality.
“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that
“Many of life's failures are people who did not realize
how close they were to success when they gave up.”
“Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the
people think they think; and the other eighty-five
percent would rather die than think.”
“We often miss opportunity because it's dressed in
overalls and looks like work”
“The three great essentials to
achieve anything worthwhile are,
first, hard work; second, stick-to-
itiveness; third, common sense.”
“Failure is really a matter of conceit. People don't
work hard because, in their conceit, they imagine
they'll succeed without ever making an effort. Most
people believe that they'll wake up some day and find
themselves rich. Actually, they've got it half right,
because eventually they do wake up.”