A Lesson from Thomas Edison

Justin D. Ridgeway
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Thomas Edison is to many one of the greatest innovators in history. He is credited with patenting the incandescent light bulb, phonograph, motion picture and many more inventions that have been useful to mankind. Edison’s inventions each faced many obstacles and setbacks; however it was through much resilience that he achieved success. If we are willing to put forth the extra effort, we too can develop perseverance in order succeed in our goals.

Thomas Edison developed over 1000 patents that provided us many of our modern conveniences. Less well known is that many more of his ideas and inventions were not so successful. One of those inventions was the automatic tally machine. In his observation during a congressional vote, Edison noticed that each individual would stand up individually and vote—which to him was extremely inefficient. Using ingenuity and drive, he developed a more adequate automatic tally system, and presented it before Congress. The joyful countenance and zeal quickly melted from Edison’s face when congressional leaders flatly rejected the idea as preposterous. They favored the politics and posturing involved with their calling of votes over the proposed automatic system (Forbes Magazine).

Did this stop Edison in his endeavors? Did feelings of failure lead him to quit? No! On the contrary, he patiently and enthusiastically marched forward. He famously stated, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work!” (Good Reads). As a true entrepreneur Edison persevered and proactively sought better future results. He learned to simply never build anything that the consumer does not want to buy. Without his persevering past the obstacles and mishaps, we may not have become so familiar with the company General Electric and their founding father.

Each day brings the possibility of trials, obstacles and failures that discourage us from our endeavors. Sometimes the pressure becomes so intense that we feel like giving up. We may have unique ideas or talents to develop, which our increasingly speedy modern age distracts us from. We may feel so overwhelmed by everyday trials that we fail to achieve our most cherished goals. Other times we may have made poor decisions that have caused negative setbacks in our lives, raising even more obstacles for us to overcome.

What then? Do we concede to life’s circumstances and give up? Far from it! The Bible, God’s mind in print, teaches that anything worth doing will be a challenge; “If you faint in the day of adversity your strength is small” (Proverbs 24:10). One way to develop endurance in the battlefield of life is to obey God’s commandments. He who obeys God is considered a righteous man and the “righteous man may fall seven times” but he will “rise again” (v. 16).

When we follow to God’s “pathway to life,” (Matthew 19:17) no matter what multitude of daily trials we face, God will deliver us out of every one (Psalm 34:19). By learning Edison’s lesson of perseverance we may find 10,000 decisions or situations that do not work; however, by keeping God’s laws with the help of Jesus Christ, we will endure on the one true path that leads to physical and spiritual success.

Even as times grow more hectic and dangerous, we can achieve true godly success if we are diligent and patient—enduring the trials of life by keeping the commandments of God. We collectively can encourage our friends and family members by setting the positive example first! Thomas Edison persevered by seeing beyond the circumstances and proactively sought to make a more positive future. Let’s learn his lesson in a magnified way by engaging in the word of God and being loyal servants for Christ!

Do you desire to persevere? Make sure to read our booklet The Ten Commandments for more information on how to become more motivated in development of this godly skill! In the meantime, also check out the Tomorrow’s World telecast, “Success in Times of Stress” for practical spiritual guidance that you can start applying, today.