Take a Tip From Edison

The only way to succeed is to believe in yourself. Here's how to keep the faith even when you run into roadblocks.
Magazine Contributor
3 min read

This story appears in the August 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Thomas Edison is credited with developing more than 1,000 inventions. His friends and family called him crazy because he refused to give up on any of his ideas. His persistence and tenacity in finding practical solutions to any problems he encountered became his hallmark. The word failure wasn't in his vocabulary; he simply believed that with hard work and determination, he could achieve anything he set his mind to.

Edison's success teaches us that if we give up too easily, we can lose out on all kinds of opportunities for advancing our businesses. No matter how well you execute your plans, you will always encounter complications along the way. If you want to persevere in the face of challenges and achieve your goals, you must remain committed to succeeding--no matter the circumstances.

Adversity is a great teacher. It keeps you focused and alert to new expansion opportunities for your business. When you encounter a roadblock, use your determination to spur you on.

1. Be solution-oriented. As entrepreneurs, we know there's a wide range of issues that arise each day. When a problem develops, your first step should be to clearly define it. Once you've put it into perspective, you can brainstorm techniques to maneuver around it, over it or through it. Be creative. Don't discard an idea simply because you've never tried it. Your determination to find a solution will lead you down a path you could never have imagined before. List every possible option, consider the pros and cons for each, then choose one to implement.

2. Be willing to develop new talents. Your unique set of talents forms the basis for your entrepreneurial success. Affirm your natural strengths by continually developing your inner resources. If confronted with unfamiliar territory, reach out to others. Develop a circle of associates to help each other find new, innovative insights for resolving problems. The knowledge exchanged during these encounters will strengthen new talents and reinforce your determination to succeed.

3. Make achievement a core personal value. Your commitment to achievement is a valuable asset. Cultivate an unwavering stance on the road to accomplishment. Don't avoid what's hard. Face it, evaluate it, and find a way to conquer it. It's natural to adjust your action steps and strategies as you learn. Your steadfast pursuit of new problem-solving techniques will help you accomplish what once seemed daunting.

4. Remain patient. Patience, willpower and hard work pay off in unexpected ways. When faced with a dead end, don't consider it a failure--think of it as part of the necessary process of elimination on the road to success. Keep on task, and be willing to wait for an answer to present itself. Find joy in discovering new possibilities for growing your business, even though there may be a winding road to the final remedy.

Thomas Edison's aspiration was to do everything within his power to free people from drudgery. Take a page from Edison's book by reflecting on the inspiration behind your business. This passion is a great source of motivation that can't be easily shaken by self-doubt. Find opportunity in every circumstance, and you'll be successful in all your endeavors.

Romanus Wolter, aka "The Kick Start Guy," is author of Kick Start Your Success and Kick Start Your Dream Business. Write to him atromanus@kickstartguy.com.

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