“I haven’t failed. I just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.” Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb.
It’s said that Edison conducted 10,000 experiments en route to creating the light bulb. That’s trying out a lot of different ways. That’s exhibiting a relentless pursuit of an idea.
I am guessing Edison was a pretty smart guy. He imagined the light bulb and set about to create it. But, the vision didn’t come fully formed. He saw the end, but there were a lot of links that had to be devised and refined to achieve the result.
It occurs to me that the effort to try 10,000 different ways doesn’t take genius. It takes guts. Guts to get up. Guts to have a thick skin while others shake their head with your encounters with futility.
It occurs to me that trying 10,000 ways creates intelligence if you let it.
You learn things when you make frequent attempts. You learn most when you pause to consider each effort and reflect on it.
What worked? What would be better? How was it different than expected? What don’t I know? Who might enlighten me? What’s a better alternative?
I’m grateful for those who try, learn and try again. Relentlessly. Daily.
For the long haul.
PalletOne CEO Howe Wallace
Since 2005, he has been sharing his thoughts on the organization, leadership, and communication in an online daily note to teammates called Daily with HQ.