Nobody wants to admit they have weaknesses, and nobody wants to put any kind of limitations on themselves. As a result, limitations and weaknesses are the last places most people would look for competitive advantage--so they may be the best places to create it. Late in his life, when medicine had advanced beyond what it was in his younger years, Thomas Edison claimed that a hearing specialist approached him and offered to help restore part or all of his hearing. He turned down the offer, however, and preferred to remain deaf due to the great benefits he had received from his severe hearing limitations. Edison had learned that limitations were an essential part of his creativity. It's a concept that still applies today.

Excerpted from At Work With Thomas Edison: 10 Business Lessons From America's Greatest Innovator