Here is a question I hope you will ponder with me for about the next 20 years. Have you ever seen a car with square wheels? Of course the answer to this ridiculous question is NO! The reason is because someone figured out centuries ago that a wheel rolls better if it is round. This simple truth has given rise to one of the most often used clichés in the English language: “It is not necessary to reinvent the wheel.”
What I have just shared is almost too elementary to waste your time, but often the most obvious idea turns out to provide the greatest rewards. Let me say it again. In the vast majority of cases, for whatever we want in life, or whatever we wish to achieve, the odds are great that many other people have already been there and done that. In a very real sense, all we need to do is take advantage of their experience. In other words, don’t try to reinvent the wheel, because you would be wasting a lot of your precious time.
I have found in a lifetime of trying to help other people achieve personal success, for whatever that means to them, that the greatest deterrent is something called “The Fear of Failure.” In the vast majority of cases, they simply quit too soon. If you happen to be a “Quick Quitter” and have missed many of the rewards that you have desired, I want to give you a new way of looking at failure that could result in far greater success than you have ever known before.
The starting point in being able to always overcome failure is to realize that failure is just a learning experience and not something that anyone should fear. Every truly successful person has failed thousands of times, and they know that each failure brings them that much closer to success. Have you ever known of a football quarterback who completed every pass? That is what I mean.
The greatest example of what I am saying is embodied in a man who is world renowned but who may have failed more often than any person in history. This man’s name is Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931), the American inventor who was also known as the Wizard of Menlo Park. During his lifetime he patented 1,093 inventions, and accomplished this in spite of the fact he had only six months of formal schooling.
Early in his career he invented and patented the stock ticker and printer, and sold it for $40,000. He used this money to hire a staff of like-minded individuals to help him, and subsequently invented the phonograph, the incandescent light bulb, the microphone, the movies, and the medical fluoroscope, just to mention a few. When it comes to your own personal success or failure, here is something I hope you will really think about. Thomas Edison and his staff classified and tested 17,000 plants before he discovered that “latex” could be extracted from one of them.
Thomas Edison literally failed his way to success, and so can we. The big problem for most people who fail is that they do not want to change. They want to rail against or change the system. The same system, incidentally, where millions and millions of people have already succeeded. It is much easier for the individual to change than it is to change the system.
Please remember what I said earlier. Failure is not something to fear. It is just a learning experience, and each failure will bring us just that much closer to success. It was the same Thomas Edison who said, “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” In short, don’t be a “Quick Quitter,” but stay the course.