Genius is One Percent Inspiration

And ninety-nine percent perspiration.

I remembered reading a book titled The 100: A Ranking of The Most Influential Persons in History back when I was still a child. Written in 1978 by Michael Hart, the book was controversial at that time and it was a wonder that it was even translated into Indonesian and found its way to my grandfather’s library.

Thomas Alva Edison was undoubtedly a genius. But it wasn’t his brain that earned him the spot (35th to be exact) in the list. It was his approach to solving the problems of his time and thus providing the future a certain bright comfort, pun intended.

He once described his invention methods as involving a lot of hard work and repeated trial and error until a method was successful. Rumor had it that to finally get the first light bulb that changed the world work took 1,000 tries.

I have not failed. I’ve just found 1,000 ways that won’t work.

– Thomas Alva Edison, inventor of light bulb and apparently master of positivity

His protégé, Nicola Tesla, shared the same view. Tesla’s namesake adopter, Elon Musk went through the same trials. Abraham Lincoln, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, even Colonel Sanders go through failures and rejections in large numbers. But eventually, there’s only a limited number of failures and/or rejection you could experience. Eventually, the bulb would light up or someone would say yes. That’s when it all counted.

Ever tried. Ever failed. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

– Samuel Beckett, failure expert and Nobel prize winner
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Published by chiawono

An IT graduate, a mathematician, a self-taught musician, a banker, a wealth management specialist, a business development manager in a securities company, a passionate teacher, and a writer with many excuses.

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