In 1854, a boy was withdrawn from school in Port Huron, Michigan, for “causing trouble.” He had been there for three months. That was to be the only formal education of his life.
He later worked as a laboratory assistant. The job ended when he blew up the laboratory. His employer picked him up and threw him out into the dust, saying that he would never amount to anything. But he had a plan, and he wasn’t going to let a little problem or two stop him. He wanted to learn the mechanical applications of natural laws.
He eventually became the foremost inventor in American history, with over thirteen hundred domestic and foreign patents registered in his name, a name synonymous with problem-solving genius, the name of Thomas Edison.
We’ve heard countless stories of perseverance and grit, but often it can be difficult to keep going with the same vigor and energy we had at the beginning of our quest. Edison is famous for saying that he just found 1,000 ways that don’t work, and this attitude was instilled in him by the belief that his mother had of him. He later recalled, “My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint.”
In contrast, when Edison entered school at the age of 7, his teacher insisted he couldn’t think clearly, and thus he only lasted three months.
Garnering an attitude of of grit is not simply a matter of reframing a problem as something that is “good
,” but it’s the story we tell ourselves which is heavily influenced by those around us.
Take a second to think about the people that matter in your life and ask them what positive beliefs they have about you are so that you can use them as a source of strength the next time a challenge arises.
So far you’ve survived 100% of your worst days. You’re doing great.