Innovation Mojo (#4): Thomas Edison & Adversity

Adapted from: The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes (Chapter 2)

Adversity is a difficulty or misfortune, that for most people, creates a high amount of stress. It could be in the form of minor adversities such as my recent speeding ticket, a fender-bender accident, not getting something you really wanted, feeling helpless, etc. It could also be in the form of a major adversities such as an illness in the family, an injury or a major loss.

Those who learn how to use adversity to their advantage, however, posses the power to turn that adversity into something great. Easier said than done because no one actually likes adversity and it often creeps up when you least expect it. Adversity in almost all cases are not within our control.

With everything I ever wanted in life, it has always, and will continue to come with an equally difficult challenge. When adversity arises, you have two choices:

1. Do nothing, let it overwhelm you, and fall victim to your circumstances or
2. Embrace the challenge and move towards the adversity, making it part of your success story.

Prepare for these moments as it will happen in all areas of life whether you like it or not. When you understand this and learn to embrace adversity, then you can learn to overcome it and use it to your advantage.

Using Thomas Edison as an example, he had 10,000 failures (and adversities) before he made the lightbulb. The 10,000 failures are essentially feedback telling him that he hadn’t figured it out yet. His failures weren’t evidence of his incompetence – it however highlighted his brilliance and increased the likelihood that the next attempt would be a successful one.

In times of adversity, often times the biggest obstacle we face is ourselves. Negative feelings, self-doubt, self-loathing. Understand that adversity of all kinds will remain in your life until you adjust your perspective and embrace the messages it is trying to send you.

Remember that no one has ever achieved anything truly great without going though extreme adversity. Balance out the difficulties that adversity brings by being grateful for what you have and for what you have accomplished.

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