When I think of someone who triumphed over tremendous odds, Thomas Edison often springs to mind. Over the course of his career he held 1093 patents in his name (see Truth Teller).While many of these were collaborative inventions, there can be no doubt that our boy Thomas was an imaginative phenom. He also had an inspirational bent. Today, I came across some of his gems of wisdom that I wanted to share with you:
“Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”
Wow! This really hit home for me. Sometimes I am not as focused as I should be and I could certainly spend more time planning than I do now.
“Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.”
This is promising. So if we’re constantly striving to improve our craft and compelled to tweak words on the page, we’re actually moving in the right direction — we’re not just obsessive, we’re also progressive!
“Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.”
A super-encouraging thought. Has this ever happened to you: You spend a lot of time working on a sentence or a scene only to realize that it’s not working the way you want it to? Well, it’s happened to me, and I’m heartened to know that Thomas believes that all that work has some value.
“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.”
To write, you need a good imagination and a pile of words — that’s it! That’s all Shakespeare had.
“Everything comes to he who hustles while he waits.”
Waiting and hustling, hustling and waiting: isn’t that what writing is about?
“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.”
What a wonderfully uplifting view of life and our awesome untapped potential! Let’s take this to heart and astonish ourselves — and the world — by writing on!