Thomas Edison was one of many people who rose from poverty and very humble beginnings, even severe failure, to change the world for the better and become rich and famous. As a student, Edison’s mind often wandered and was a very poor student, he obtained only three months of formal schooling. His mother taught him at home and he was fascinated with books.
There are several stories as to why Edison was hearing impaired. The actual cause is probably scarlet fever, although Edison attributed it to being struck on the ears when one of his many scientific experiments went wrong, causing a fire on the train and was thrown off a train, and later saying a conductor had pulled him up on a train by the ears.
When he was young he sold candy and newspapers on trains and also vegetables to travelers. He sold newspapers on the road and started his own newspaper. He eventually started 14 companies, including General Electric which is still one of the largest publicly traded companies in the world and certainly one of the most influential companies in the US.
Edison failed many times. When he was 19 years old, he was fired from his job at Western Union because his experiment with batteries spilled acid on the floor and it went between the floorboards to his boss’ desk below. He was one of many people who were fired from a job and moved on to incredible success.
Most people with difficulty hearing and limited education would decide to work at some simple job, but not Edison. His passion for inventing and his curiosity pushed him forward. He decided failures were not bad things, but actually good things. He tried 10,000 different ways to invent the light bulb and said that all those attempts were not failures but were stepping stones on the path to finding the right way. Most people would have given up after a few tries, even more after a few thousand, but Edison kept trying. He had incredible persistence and faith in his abilities.
Sometimes when I think about quitting, I remember people like Edison and I am motivated to keep on trying even after I have failed many times. Nobody who accomplished great things gave up easily.
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