Most people don’t believe they have true freedom in their career. They scoff at the idea because they are afraid of the power that they possess within themselves.
I believe everyone has great powers. Superpowers not to just help others, but ones that make us happier.
80% of people are currently looking to change their career because they don’t care about their work or feel like they aren’t making a difference.
When you believe in a mission greater than yourself, you’ll push yourself to grow, improve, and make a difference. This stems from the internal belief that you can change lives.
A superpower is sparked by your passions. You then create leverage in your career with your strengths. You then apply your focus to get closer to your reaching your goals. It’s this formula that has allowed myself and people who work with me to do more of the work that makes them happier while getting great results.
Thomas Edison is a great example of this.
Thomas Edison obtained1,093 patents, a single-person record that still stands to this day. And these patents didn’t happen in 1,093 days. They were spread over his entire career, so this was a daily exercise in passion.
Once a reporter asked Edison, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” and Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
He believed he was on to something great he couldn’t stop. He saw the possibility. He once said, “We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.”
He saw his ideas helping millions of people live better lives, and it motivated him to try over 1000 times until he succeeded. His vision trumped his fear of failure. He didn’t know that his light bulb would succeed. He just so desperately wanted it to that he just kept trying small ideas until he saw progress.
Passion has to be nurtured. Edison was pulled out of school after only 3 months (his only formal education) because his mother was saddened that they couldn’t see his potential. They stifled it. So instead, his mother allowed him to follow his curiosity through his experiments.
Many times people won’t want you to follow your curiosity and vision for your ideas, but it’s up to you to pull yourself away from these people. You can only follow your passions if you don’t hold yourself back or let anyone else hold you back from seeing what you can accomplish.
Strengths are tricky because sometimes we don’t know our strengths until we practice them awhile. When we practice things we are skilled in, they can turn into a talent. If we practice enough times, we get stronger and more fluid in how we execute our actions.
Thomas didn’t believe his success came from his genius. He believed it came from practice or perseverance.
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Thomas Edison
Edison failed at perfecting the light bulb over 1,000 times. Each time he looked at what didn’t quite work. He gained knowledge from the supposed failure, then went back to fixing the problem from a place of strength.
“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this – you haven’t.” – Thomas Edison
It’s hard persevering through career challenges, but if you can view the challenge as a learning experience, you’ll find yourself able to try just one more time. You have another chance at refining your skills and turning them into a real strength.
How did Edison find this positive outlook through each failure?
He relied on memories of past success, his mother’s support, and his curiosity to find the right solution.
Instead of focusing on what you might perceive as a failure, try focusing on what you learned from the experience. From a money-losing project to an idea that no one believes in, give yourself some time to breathe and try again from a place of strength.
Next time you hit the wall of failure, ask yourself what your greatest supporter (could be your best friend, mom, even your dog if he could talk) would say to you. Let this be the voice of reason to help relax your inner arch nemesis and do great work.
Thomas Edison was mostly deaf due to unknown reasons, but there is one thing we do know. He liked not being able to hear very well. He could concentrate on his experiments without distraction.
He knew he was easily distracted. It’s why he struggled in school. He needed to focus his attention on work he cared about without interruptions.
Edison once said “The first requisite for success is to develop the ability to focus and apply your mental and physical energies to the problem at hand – without growing weary. Because such thinking is often difficult, there seems to be no limit to which some people will go to avoid the effort and labor that is associated with it….”
Look at where you lose focus on projects. What keeps you from finding a unique solution?
You need to eliminate any distractions to allow yourself to get in the zone. The next step is to have the willpower to put your focus back on your work when you have a failed attempt (i.e. a step on the way to success).
Your focus is actually like a muscle. The more you use it the better you get at it. This is where your inner arch nemesis is so important to listen to, but not dictate your actions.
Give yourself a chance to process the failed attempt, but then get back to it and try the 101st step and see what happens.
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Remember: Failure Is Inevitable
Many of Edison’s ideas never took off. He tried creating a practical family home out of cement molds, which was never accepted. He tried to create a practical way to mine iron ore to help meet the demand Pennsylvania steel companies needed for the metal.
When that didn’t work out either, he gave up and moved on to more practical projects. You will have failures too. The key is know when to give up and put your focus back on projects that will help you grow your happiness and your career.
More Important Than Failure
Edison knew his ideas could help people live better lives. From the light-bulb to his attempt to make cheaper and sturdier houses. He stuck with an idea he cared about from beginning to end.
He let go of various ideas like cement molds and electrographic vote recorder, but persevered on his motion picture Kinetoscope and iron ore separator.
Letting go of ideas that aren’t working well and following through on the good ideas is part of Edison’s genius. He couldn’t have perfected the light bulb on his 738th or 978th try. He kept going because he knew he was on to something great.
What small action can you take today to help someone to grow your career?
Edison believed that his hard work is what helped him accomplish all his amazing inventions. He did this through his superpowers (passion, strengths, focus). He believed that his curiosity was more important than worrying about failure. He believed that having time to focus and let go of negative thoughts kept him moving forward on projects that never went quite right until that last try. He believed that his strengths grew stronger the more he tried.
He believed in himself, and although he probably didn’t call them “superpowers“, he had utilized his Passion, Focus, and Strengths
Do you believe you have any superpowers? (Powers to help others)
If not, why not?
Are you using these talents in your career?
Career happiness shouldn’t be for only 20% of the population. Career happiness can come in many packages. You can find it in the strangest places. Over my conversations with hundreds of people who’ve found their passion, I’ve found the happiest people have one thing in common. They take daily actions to make a difference in people’s lives.
They aren’t always in a blissful state, but their purpose keeps them moving forward, chipping away at their goals. It’s this passion that drives them to seek out creative solutions.
You have great gifts too! What are they?
And what is one failure that you worked through and came out on top?