Every Grade 3 student knows that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. And we all know what a truly amazing invention it is! How it has transformed our lives. Can you imagine living without it now? Can you imagine what it must have been like to go from early bedtimes - because it was easier than reading by candlelight or an oil lamp – to staying up late with light? Having grown up with electricity it’s hard to know anything else.
However, I would like to propose the following little newsflash: the light bulb on its own is actually a completely useless thing. Well, at least on its own anyway. It needs a whole power generating and distribution system behind it for the value that it brings to us every day just to even begin to be seen, literally. And did you know that Thomas Edison invented that too! I certainly had no idea, did you? Like the light bulb his power generating systems went through many iterations and trial and error. Edison believed his direct current (or DC) system was superio
r to his competition’s alternating current (or AC) system. Despite Edison’s undeniable genius, on this one point he was wrong, and his competitor George Westinghouse eventually developed the system that became the most popular and most widely used today.
How many times have you looked at something and thought to yourself, “How difficult can that be?” Then you take the first step, which leads to another, and then a fork in the road and soon you realize that what seemed so simple at first was really just the start of a rabbit hole. And you wonder why the heck you ever started in the first place!!! I know, I’ve been there, we all have.
Those are the times when you remind yourself that every experience has value. And yes, it will feel hard to go through in that moment. When has worthwhile change ever been easy? Those new roads offer opportunities to try what you are doing in a new way, or help you expand your vision. For Thomas Edison he learned from what didn’t work when it came to the light bulb itself, and his vision went from lighting one room to lighting a whole city block.
When you embrace these new opportunities you can even surprise yourself as you learn new skills, sharpen ones you already have, or discover that you really like some aspect of what you have had to learn while working on the project. A friend of ours, Jay, is a medical doctor. He discovered he had a really good entrepreneurial and business sense when he was asked to invest in a start up company. He took a keen interest in the company, helped to make it successful, and has since been a part of many other very successful start up companies developing medical devices and products. And to his surprise he is having fun! He had thought he would be ‘just’ a doctor for his working career.
The rabbit hole may seem endless and scary but look at it as an opportunity. It’s not only a chance for you to bring something new to the world; it’s also a great way to expand your skills and vision of yourself. Say yes to your next step!