Thomas Alva Edison

Great People Shine When Bad Things Happen

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Thomas Alva EdisonCall it excellence or staying power–despite all the bad things that happen to great people, they still manage to shake the dust off their feet and stand right back up.

Greatness has no boundaries, it seems. It could touch a young adult or an aging octogenarian. What makes greatness so outstanding, however, is that the person who has it is able to surmount challenges no matter how tough these may be.

It’s funny how great men always manage to get to the top even after a great downfall. Just mentioning the names Thomas Alva Edison, Tenzing Norgay and much recently, Steve Jobs always inspire.

The curious case of Thomas Alva Edison

Take the man dubbed as the “Wizard of Menlo Park.” Who would think that Thomas Alva Edison, wielder of ideas and arguably the most prolific inventor the world has known started with little to no formal training in school?

To be more precise, Edison had but three months of official schooling and that’s it. He learned thanks to the tender loving tutorials of his own mother. Nevertheless, Edison is credited with 1,093 patents and the invention of the phonograph among many others. He also started one of the biggest companies, General Electric.

You can’t keep a good man down

Edison once proclaimed: “I have not failed 9,999 times. I have successfully found 9999 ways it won’t work. That brings me 9999 steps closer to the way it will work.” He ate failure for breakfast, but he never relented to it.

Another example is Tenzing Norgay, the first man along with Sir Edmund Hillary to ever climb Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on Earth. For 40 years the mountain’s harsh conditions rebuffed them many times.

Today, of course, we all know how Apple kicked Steve Jobs out. He returned a few years later–with a vengeance. Even with the bad experiences, these men never gave up and never lost motivation. says that unmotivated people can doom what an organization is out to do.

More than failures, it is lack of motivation that makes people give up on what they’re doing. Everyone has bad experiences, but what a person does despite them spells the difference between failure and success.

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