What Thomas Edison and Flick the ant had in common

They were failures. And outsiders. And entrepreneurs. And great success stories. And no man how many people doubted them, laughed at them, insulted them, they never gave up. I just love Randy Newman for capturing Flick’s entrepreneurial persona in the simplest lyrics.

Was a bug, little bug, barely there
How he felt what he dreamed
who could care
without any evidence (his flaws were many)

but he had confidence (some people haven’t any)
didn’t have much common sense (it’s highly overrated)
he just knew that he’d come through

BugsLifeWallpaper800Did Flick fail? More than once. Did he look like an idiot? More than once. The worst criticism he received when he left the ant colony to search for warrior bugs was from an ant who said you’re going to die.” Wow. I’ve heard discouraging career advice before but nothing that rough.

Yes it’s only a cartoon. But there’s a grain of sand – oops – truth to it. Lots of them in fact. That’s how it is for most of us when we venture into the unknown. Your business will probably begin the same way. Like us all, he started small then he grew.

Thomas Edison (the lightbulb guy – who also invented a hundred other things you don’t know about including the phonograph and the motion picture camera which you do know about) was told by a teacher that he was “too stupid to learn.” His father said the same thing. He dropped out of  school after 3 months because he “almost believed I was an addlepate.” In reality he had a learning disorder that was undiagnosed because everyone around him – including his teachers – were too stupid to know about dyslexia back then.

Still he remained undaunted. After trying unsuccessfully to invent the lightbulb for the 9,999th time,  Edison said to his ever faithful assistant, I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” 

If you’re failing and frightened, remember Edison’s truism: “genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” Then go download Randy Newman onto your iPod and rock out to this advice:

we may only go around one time
so far as I can tell
it’s the time of your life
so live it well

 

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