Determination is that element belonging to victorious conquerors and successful businessmen. It rings through the halls of power, echoes within the clasp of Liberty Bell, and is the thread Betty Ross sewed into Old Glory. It resonates with life, resounding amidst the Washington Monument, the faces of men whose proven actions now hint at what determination can do. Regardless whether you hate Bill Gates or love him, determination skyrocketed him to the top. Determination helped Stephen King continue in the face of adversity and rejection, while as a (then) unknown he wrote in a trailer at night while teaching during the day at a local college.
Determination isn’t invincible, however. It can crack and splinter; it can be chipped away when you experience rejection after rejection, until your confidence slips, until your writer’s voice wanes and your words falter. It’s what falls to the ground and shatters in the face of defeat.
But it is also the mantle of success, for as a great man once said about the common light bulb, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Thank you, Mr. Edison.
I’m going to conclude this with other quotes from Mr. Edison. But first, let me ask what ‘determination’ means to you. Then, when you have a firm grasp on the concept of determination, I hope that you pass it on.
Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
-This is presented as a statement of 1877, as quoted in From Telegraph to Light Bulb with Thomas Edison (2007) by Deborah Hedstrom, p. 22
Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.
-Spoken statement (c. 1903); published in Harper’s Monthly (September 1932)
Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.
-As quoted in Thomas Alva Edison : Sixty Years of an Inventor’s Life (1908) by Francis Arthur Jones, p. 14
Restlessness is discontent — and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man — and I will show you a failure.
-The Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison (1948), p. 110
And my most favorite of all time:
I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
-Response to the idea that he had failed after 10,000 experiments to develop a storage battery, as quoted in The World Book Encyclopedia (1993) Vol. E, p. 78; there are many variants on this quote, with the numbers mentioned ranging from 97 to 10,000.