No. 330

Here is a question I hope you will ponder with me for about the next 20 years. Have you ever seen a car with square wheels? Of course the answer to this ridiculous question is “no.” The reason is because someone figured out centuries ago that a wheel rolls much better if it’s round. This simple truth has given rise to one of the most often used clichés in the English language, “It’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel.”
What I have just shared is almost too elementary to waste your time, but often the most obvious turns out to provide the greatest rewards. Let me say it again. In the vast majority of cases, for whatever you want in life or for whatever you wish to achieve, the odds are great that many other people have already been there and done that. In a very real sense all we need to do is take advantage of their experience. In other words, don’t try to reinvent the wheel, because you would be wasting a lot of your precious time.
I have found in a lifetime of trying to help other people achieve personal success, for whatever that means to them, the greatest deterrent is something called “The Fear Of Failure.” In the vast majority of cases when people fail, they simply quit too soon. If you happen to be a QUICK QUITTER and have missed many of the rewards that you have desired, I want to give you a new way of looking at failure that could result in far greater success than you have ever known before.
The starting point to being able to always overcome failure is to realize that failure is just a learning experience and not something that anyone should fear. Every truly successful person has failed thousands of times and they know that each failure brings them that much closer to success. Have you ever known of a football quarterback who completed every pass? That is what I mean.
The greatest example of what I am saying is embodied in a man who is world renowned but who also failed more often than any other person in history. This man’s name is Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931), the American inventor who was also known as the Wizard Of Menlo Park. During his lifetime he patented 1093 inventions and accomplished this in spite of the fact that he only had six months of formal schooling.
Early in his career he invented and patented the stock ticker and printer and sold it for $40,000. He used this money to hire a staff of like minded individuals to help him and subsequently invented the phonograph, the incandescent light bulb, the microphone, the movies, and the medical fluoroscope, just to mention a few. When it comes to your own personal success or failure here is something I hope you will really think about. Thomas Edison and his staff classified and tested 17,000 plants before he discovered that “latex” could be extracted from one of them.
Thomas Edison literally failed his way to success and so can we. The big problem for most people who fail is that they do not want to change. They want to rail against or change the system. The same system incidentally, where millions and millions of people have already succeeded. It may not be necessary to say this, but I am going to say it anyway and hope it soaks in for those who will read the column and may be failing in some job or project they have started. It is much easier for the individual to change than it is to change the system. Please remember what I said earlier. Failure is not something to fear because it is just a learning experience and each failure will bring us that much closer to success. It was this same Thomas Edison who said, “ Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” In short, don’t be a QUICK QUITTER, but stay the course. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)