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Top 20 Thomas Edison Quotes

Top 20 Thomas Edison Quotes

Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) is one of America’s greatest inventors and businessmen. He’s responsible for developing and marketing the phonograph, motion picture camera, and the light bulb, among other things. Edison was known to be hardworking and resourceful. Here are 20 quotes credited to this American genius that still hold true today:

1. “Our schools are not teaching students to think. It is astonishing how many young people have difficulty in putting their brains definitely and systematically to work…”

Millennials are given a lot of flak for feeling entitled to success without putting in the work. This isn’t anything new. Edison noticed the same phenomena in his day and attributed it to our education system. To stick out, all you have to do is stick it out.

CFL Lightbulb - Lifehack

    2. “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time…”

    Every winner loses, but not every loser wins. You can’t succeed without taking a few losses. You may be starving and struggling, but as long as you keep pushing, you’ll eventually make it.

    3. “Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless…”

    Potato chips, plastic, Teflon, Play-Doh, super glue, corn flakes, velcro, post-it notes…all of these were invented on accident and are now indispensable parts of our society. If you create something that doesn’t work, find another use for it.

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    4. “I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun…”

    Edison enjoyed what he did. He followed his dreams. Because of this, nothing seemed like work anymore. When you love your job, you’re much more likely to work harder at it.

    5. “I am not overly impressed by the great names and reputations of those who might be trying to beat me to an invention…. It’s their ‘ideas’ that appeal to me. I am quite correctly described as ‘more of a sponge than an inventor…”

    If Thomas Edison were alive in the internet age, he would be on the side of Wikileaks and Anonymous. Information is our greatest resource as a race.

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      6. “Of all my inventions, I liked the phonograph best…”

      Much like Steve Jobs’ love for Pixar and the iPhone, Edison was most proud of the invention that brought the fine arts to the masses.

      7. “Until man duplicates a blade of grass, nature can laugh at his so-called scientific knowledge…”

      People are capable of creating a lot of innovative stuff. We can’t create something as beautiful and efficient as a simple blade of grass.

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      8. “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human body, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease…”

      I so wish this were true. The pharmaceutical industry pumps a lot of money into the medical industry. Pills are the answer to all modern life’s ills. I sincerely hope one day humanity as a whole figures out the benefits of diet, meditation, and positive thinking.

      9. “Discontent is the first necessity of progress…”

      Nobody ever accomplished something great because they were happy. It’s necessary to have opposing viewpoints, discomfort, and obstacles in life. Rather than get upset or frustrated when life throws you a curveball, appreciate the pitch, take a swing, and round the bases.

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        10. “Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits…”

        Idle hands are the devil’s playthings. Even when I look like I’m lazing around, I’m doing something. The people who get ahead are the ones who are constantly putting in long hours of hard work.

        11. “Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something…”

        The more rules you put in front of you, the harder it is to get anything done. Look at football. Running 100 yards takes 10-20 seconds. If not for all the rules, full length football games would have scores in the double digits.

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        12. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work…”

        If you come across a door, there are only a handful of ways to open it. Try pushing. If it doesn’t open, there’s one less way you have to worry about. This simple perspective will get you through a lot of annoying times in life. Don’t give up when you fail, just take a break and try again later from a different angle.

        13. “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work…”

        Eminem says you only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow. The reality is that you’ll never run out of opportunities. The trick is to treat each chance like it’s your only, and go all out toward it. Overnight success exists, but it takes years of hard work to achieve.

        14. “Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages…”

        Edison was keen to notice how all our technological advances and education don’t stop us from fighting among each other. Until we learn to walk a path of nonviolence, humanity will always be in danger of self destruction.

        Clock - Lifehack

          15. “The thing I lose patience with the most is the clock. Its hands move too fast…”

          Time is the most valuable resource you have. You can spend it, but never earn it. Our lives aren’t long enough to sit around waiting and wishing. If you want to experience everything, take action.

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          16. “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration…”

          Everyone comes up with ideas. I have thousands every day. That’s the easy part. The hard part is implementation, and THAT is where real geniuses thrive.

          17. “Personally, I enjoy working about 18 hours a day. Besides the short catnaps I take each day, I average about four to five hours of sleep per night…”

          I can’t emphasize enough (nor could Edison) how important it is to put in the work to succeed. I enjoy my work, so I consider myself working 24 hours a day.

          18. “Your worth consists in what you are and not in what you have…”

          Seems like I can’t go an entire day without hearing someone talk about their lottery dreams. I used to have them myself. Now I know how to be happy without any of it. It’s nice having material things, but if you’re not happy sitting in an empty room, nothing you add to it will make much of a difference.

          19. “Maturity is often more absurd than youth and very frequently is most unjust to youth…”

          When someone says “this isn’t high school,” I can’t help but smile. Life is exactly like high school. There’s no imaginary line you cross where you suddenly wake up a mature adult. Maturity is a process that comes with time, and far too often during that process, adults forget how intelligent and resourceful kids can be.

          20. “Time is really the only capital that any human being has and the thing that he can least afford to waste or lose…”

          You may not have money, but you have time to make it. There’s nothing in life you can’t accomplish, see, do, or experience if you dedicate your time to it. I never understood people who see their work and personal life as two separate things. Why spend 2000+ hours a year doing something you hate?

          Wanna be more like Thomas Edison? Learn the Key to Innovation here…

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          Last Updated on October 14, 2019

          12 Inspirational Speeches That Teach You the Most Valuable Life Lessons

          12 Inspirational Speeches That Teach You the Most Valuable Life Lessons

          The most valuable thing an experienced person has is their experience. People make mistakes, learn from them, and adapt their life around them to become better people. Those people would then tell tales to others to help teach those lessons so that others would not have to make the same mistakes.

          People still tell these stories today but in a slightly different format — they use speeches to express their experiences. Here are some valuable life lessons you can learn from some of the greatest inspirational speeches:

          1. JK Rowling teaches us to not fear failure no matter how bad things become

          It is a well-known fact that JK Rowling’s now-famous Harry Potter series was turned down by several publishers before it was finally picked up. Those publishers are likely kicking themselves in the pants right now. However, before that, JK Rowling was in a fairly dire situation and was on the brink of failure. Despite being turned down time and time again, she kept trying. Her efforts paid off. Harry Potter is now a ubiquitous character in today’s world culture. Despite failing over and over again, Rowling kept trying and fulfilled her dreams. You can watch her deliver some valuable life lessons in her Harvard commencement speech video above.

          2. Steve Jobs teaches us to never settle

          Steve Jobs had a fairly tumultuous life. He co-founded Apple, was kicked out of the company, came back, and then re-defined the mobile phone space with the iPhone. Even if iPhones aren’t the rage they once were, its iconic value is forever written in stone. One thing Jobs never did was settle. He lived life on his own terms and was rewarded for it by being dubbed one of the most revolutionary voices in technology of our time. In the Stanford commencement speech above, Jobs explains how you should never settle for what someone else wants out of your life. It’s your life and you should do what you want with it.

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          3. Admiral William H McRaven teaches us to make our beds every day

          Anyone who has gone through the basic training of a military service will tell you it’s pretty difficult. However, every seemingly obnoxious step is actually a life lesson in disguise. This even applies to flawlessly making one’s bed every single morning. As Admiral William H McRaven teaches us, recruits are taught to make their beds every morning to remind them that even the little things in life matter. After all, how can you be expected to handle the biggest obstacles in your life if you can’t even handle the small and the mundane like making your bed every day? You can watch the entire speech in the video above.

          4. Author David Foster Wallace teaches us that we’re a part of a greater existence

          David Foster Wallace found fame in 1987 with his book The Broom of the System. Nearly 20 years later in 2005 he game a commencement speech at Kenyon College that is worth listening to at least once. In his speech, he reminds us that was are but a part of a huge, dynamic, ever changing interaction of life forms. In order to truly experience life, we need to leave our personal bubbles and interact with others even if it’s in an unpleasant way. Wallace states, “It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.” You can watch the whole speech above.

          5. Stephen Colbert teaches us that life isn’t something you can plan

          If there is anyone who knows about improvisation, it’s comedian Stephen Colbert. In his commencement speech at Northwestern University in 2011, Colbert reminded students that you cannot plan life. Life throws too many curve balls. There are too many unpredictable things that can happen. The most successful and happy people are not those who have a plan, but those who can roll with the punches and overcome the obstacles. He goes on to site his time as an improv comic and how all of the actors working together to create a scene out of literally nothing are all working for one another. He states that like improv comedy, you don’t know what happens next in life. You just make it up as you go along. You can watch the whole speech above.

          6. Kurt Vonnegut teaches us to not sweat the small stuff

          Some of our younger readers may not know Kurt Vonnegut. He is a famous author that found of of his success during the middle of last century. In 1999, Kurt Vonnegut was at Agnes Scott College giving a commencement speech. During the speech, he mentioned that in order to live a more complete life, people needed to let stuff go. He argued that you cannot reasonably expect others to forgive you for your mistakes if you cannot forgive others and that you cannot live life fostering a personal vendetta against others.

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          7. Neil Gaiman teaches us that success can be distracting.

          Neil Gaiman is most known for his work in a number of literary mediums including journalism, comic books, and novels. In 2012, Gaiman gave a speech at the University of the Arts where he talked about success. He stated that when you become successful, you may be unintentionally swayed from performing the actions that made you successful. Gaiman recalled his early success and how he felt pressured to answer emails all day long and it actually prevented him from writing as much as he wanted. So he reminds us to keep doing what makes us successful and to not let others get in the way.

          8. Barack Obama’s life lessons teaches us that you really can beat the odds

          We know that not everyone likes Barack Obama but that doesn’t mean the man can’t deliver an amazing speech. In this 2004 keynote speech at the Democratic National Convenction, Obama reminds that it is possible to beat the odds and become something great. He cites his own upbringing as an example and how he was never expected to make it as far as he did. It shows that when you’re passionate about something and when you try hard enough, you can accomplish almost anything. It’s important to note that Obama talks about this in 2004 and would become the President of the United States just four years later.

          9. Robin Roberts reminds us that we each have the courage to overcome challenges

          Robin Roberts knows a thing or two about courage. She is a breast cancer survivor and has done battle with a rare blood disease called myelodysplastic syndrome. Her sister once had to donate bone marrow just so Robin could remain alive. She was also ESPN’s first African American broadcaster in the early 1990’s. She’s a woman who works in an industry predominately populated by men. So when Robin Roberts takes the stage at the ESPYs and delivers a short lecture on having courage, we would do well to listen!

          10. Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us that some things are more important than success

          We all know the story of Martin Luther King Jr. So much so that we have a day of the year to celebrate him as a national holiday here in the United States. Most of us have listening to segments of his famous speech where he told the world about a dream he had. The main message of his famous speech is that racial inequalities needed to end and he was absolutely right. However, he also reminds us that there are things that are more important than success such as equal rights and treating each other with respect and kindness. If you somehow made it through school without watching the famous speech, we’ve got it linked above.

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          11. Jim Carrey reminds us that even if you keep it safe, you can still fail so you might as well go big

          Jim Carrey delivered a commencement speech at Maharishi University recently that went absolutely viral. You may know it as the one minute video that will change your life. They weren’t lying but they weren’t telling the whole truth because the speech was actually 28 minutes long. During the speech, Carrey talks about his father who wanted to be a comedian but decided to take the safe route and become an accountant. As it turns out, his father was laid off and his family ended up poor anyway. With that, Carrey tells us that you can still end up failing even if you play it safe so you might as well swing for the fences and do what you want to do.

          12. Bill Murray teaches us that it’s the hard times that determine if someone really loves you

          You may have heard the story about Bill Murray crashing someone’s bachelor party and delivering a speech. It turns out the speech was both short and fairly epic. During the speech, Bill Murray challenged the bachelors to travel around the world with the women they love and go to places that are difficult to go to and deal with. He says if you can get back to the United States and you still love each other, then you should get married right then and there. It’s a great message. It’s easy to love one another when times are good but do you still love each other when the times are bad? If so, that’s true love according to Bill Murray.

          Final thoughts

          Inspiration comes from everywhere and from anyone. There are a countless number of speeches and stories that can teach us an incalculable number of life lessons.

          All these speeches almost share the same message: Don’t be afraid to fail and keep trying.

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          If you also want to live your best life like the above successful people, this is what you should start doing:

          You’ll Only Live Your Best Life Once You Step Out

          At the end of the day, everything is inspirational. It’s just a matter of finding the message that we need to hear to change our lives.

          Featured photo credit: Miguel Henriques via unsplash.com

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