Thomas Edison had a ridiculous idea in 1878–to create a safe, cost-effective lamp that ran on… electricity! Everyone knew that attempts to use electricity to create light had resulted in fires, explosions and meltdowns; it could never be used to safely light anything.
Edison, however, believed that it was possible to use electricity to create a practical lamp. So, he invited reporters from New York to his Menlo Park, New Jersey laboratory, where he announced that he would produce his new invention, along with a way to link it to power stations via underground cables, in six weeks.
Edison was aware that he would probably have to enclose his lamp in glass, so he had glassblowers on staff. He knew he would probably need some experts–electrical engineers and mathematicians–so he had them available. The only thing he had no clue about was what he would put in the lamp to make it work. But Edison was certain that he would end up doing what he promised, because he had a system.
He also knew that having a system, even a simple one-even a stupid one-was far more likely to get him results than having no system. And Edison’s system was painfully simple:
1. Announce your goal
2. Develop a plan to reach the goal
3. Take immediate and massive action on the plan, and
4. Persist until you succeed
Even the “plan” portion of the system was simple: Randomly test any material or combination of materials until you find what works.
Edison believed that to find the combination of materials he might need to make his lamp work in the time he promised, he would probably have to work through a few hundred experiments. But after six weeks, despite immediate and massive action, he was no closer to finding something that would make his lamp glow than he was on the day he announced his goal. Most people would have given up at this point, but Edison persisted for fourteen months.
In 1879, using low current electricity, a small carbonized thread, and a vacuum inside the glass globe, he was able to produce a reliable, long-lasting source of light.
Waddayawant? Anyone can follow this simple formula and, with the help of a coach or someone to hold him or her accountable, can reach his or her goals.
If there’s something you want to accomplish, contact me to discuss how I can help you have it.
In the meantime, keep REACHING…