Thomas Edison: the biggest loser

Thomas Alva Edison
Thomas Alva Edison (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“A failure establishes only this: that our determination to succeed was not strong enough.”
– Bovee
“Sheer persistence is the difference between success and failure.”
– Donald Trump
“More men fail though lack of purpose than lack of talent.” – Bill Sunday

Thomas Edison probably failed more times than any other scientist/inventor of the last two centuries. However, he also succeeded more times than any other inventors. He received patents for well over a thousand useful inventions.

Babe Ruth struck out more times in a year than any other person in his baseball league. However, he also hit more home runs than anyone else.

This means that we don’t need to fear failure. In fact, if we learn from our failures, they can be very good things. Edison tried over 10,000 ways to design a long lasting light bulb. When asked if all those failures discouraged him he said “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

“How many people are completely successful in every department of life? Not one. The most successful people are the ones who learn from their mistakes and turn their failures into opportunities.” – Zig Ziglar

Sometimes failure makes us stronger. Michael Jordan was cut from the varsity basketball team when he was a freshman, and the agony he experienced from that pushed him to work much harder than he already was. The player that beat him for the top spot must have been outstanding. If that player was not very good, Jordan would have made the team without learning to put extra effort into his goals and dreams. He might not have been such an outstanding player in college.

Abraham Lincoln failed many times, he went bankrupt, failed in political races many different times and married a woman who was apparently mentally ill. She was known for throwing coffee in his face in public, going on bizarre spending sprees and being especially difficult to get along with. But during one of the worst times in his marriage he wrote the Gettysburg Address which stands even today as a masterpiece. His years of being president of the US were extremely difficult, a man not as accustomed to trouble might have buckled under the pressure and let the US split into two countries.

Don’t let your failures get you down, they can raise you up.


  1. This gives me hope with my violin practice! Keep going and I will eventually make it to the Opera House…well, at least in my dreams!

  2. You do know that Edison, while a workaholic and a vicious businessman, was also a sadist, a cheat, and an animal torturer? He reneged on a promise to pay $50,000 to whoever could improve upon his DC generators, and when Tesla did, he laughed in his face and never paid him the money owed to him. He also electrocuted an elephant and many other helpless animals in a bid to discredit AC current and Tesla. The man was notoriously foul tempered and hard nosed. He was, in short, the worst kind of bastard. Not a guy to emulate. Tesla worked just as hard and was twice as bright, and although our whole modern world owes its existence to his invention of Alternating Current, he died penniless and alone in a hotel room in New York city. Are you now going to say that Tesla just ‘didn’t practice the habits of success’?

  3. I like the quote of Zig Ziglar “The most successful people are the ones who learn from their mistakes and turn their failures into opportunities.” this is true..we will not succeed if we stop because we made mistake at first. We have to learn from our mistakes.

  4. Yes! I have heard all of those before and I have tried to explain the concept to my kids, but to no avail. Perhaps, I just haven’t found the right method, so I will keep trying too!

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