Great inventors became great for a reason - they knew the secrets to success, including working hard, staying focused, persevering in the face of adversity and listening to their intuition. You may not be the next Einstein, Edison or Franklin, but we can ALL learn something from them! Below, we’ve collected fifteen of the most motivational quotes and words of wisdom from the greatest inventors in history to inspire and encourage you on your innovative journey.1. “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” – Thomas Edison
With these words, Edison gives hope to all those hard workers out there who might not feel like masterminds or geniuses, but have the drive and desire to make their wildest dreams come true. All you need is one great idea to run with, and the dedication and perseverance to see it to fruition.2. “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein
This sentiment should resonate with everyone alive in this world, as none of us have NEVER NOT made a mistake. And Einstein wants us to remember that is a good thing! Making mistakes means you are learning, not doing things incorrectly. Therefore, it only makes sense that mistakes are a natural outcome when inventing or innovating, as you approach problems from new angles, recreate, tear down and start over. So, get out there and go make lots of mistakes!3. “We should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously.” – Benjamin Franklin
If you’re feeling a lack of passion for inventing or have hit a creative wall, remember these words from Franklin to fuel you forward. At the core, inventing is about improving some facet of life for people everywhere. When you strip away the brainstorming, the patents, the copyrights, the money, that’s the real reason why we invent - to help our fellow man. Allow that calling to motivate your creativity and innovation.
4. “Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born.” – Nikola Tesla
Perhaps contradictory to the idea of group brainstorming, sometimes quiet, personal time produces the best ideas and most earth-shaking lightbulb moments. Whether it’s sipping a cup of coffee on your porch, listening to tunes in bed or going for a jog, revel in that “you time” and take Tesla’s advice to just think, ponder and muse!
5. “Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other opinions drown your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become.” – Steve Jobs
If Job’s tough-love words don’t motivate you to use your time wisely and to march to the beat of your own drum, not much else will! In a world where it’s so easy to follow someone else’s lead, have the courage to forge your own path and see the beauty and innovation that comes from your own mind and heart, not someone else’s.
6. "The most dangerous notion a young man can acquire is that there is no more room for originality. There is no large room for anything else."- Henry Ford
Imagine if Henry Ford hadn’t dared to be original or think outside the box. We wouldn’t have motorized automobiles! Some closed-minded people equate originality with craziness, and that’s their misconception, not your problem. Originality is what keeps society buzzing, and it’s a mark of mankind, so embrace originality and use it to make something new!
7. “It had long come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” – Leonardo da Vinci
You’ve probably heard the Christian sentiment before of “God helps those who help themselves.” This quote is da Vinci’s version of that thought. Here, he stresses the importance of taking an active stance on living, not playing victim to lack of creativity or waiting for lady luck to strike them, just because. Don’t wait for success to happen to you, go out and grab it!
8. “If we all did the things we are really capable of, we would literally astound ourselves...” – Thomas Edison
How about that for a personal challenge! Goal: astound myself. It’s so easy to follow someone else’s routine, even when it’s not the right one for you. Sticking to the rules laid down for you can easily gloss over your own talents, brilliance, capacities. Everyone is good at something – discover your forte, find your groove and keep improving until you’ve shown yourself all the magic you can conjure up.
9. “When one door closes, another door opens; but we so often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell
We’ve all fallen victim to hindsight – the “shoulda, woulda, coulda” disappointments of life. When you’ve dedicated time, heart and money to a cause, to inventing something, and it doesn’t work out as you’d planned, it can feel like a massive failure. At these times, take a new perspective and remember Bell’s words. Take some time to be bummed, of course, that’s only natural. Deal with the fact that this one idea didn’t pan out. But take what you learned from that experience and move on. Don’t waste time looking behind you; instead look ahead and start climbing the next hill.
10. “More than anything else the sensation is one of perfect peace mingled with an excitement that strains every nerve to the utmost, if you can conceive of such a combination.” – Wilbur Wright
This experience alone described so eloquently by Wilbur Wright, one of the two Wright Brothers, makes us want to invent all sorts of great things! He is referring to the sensation he felt upon seeing his airplane fly successfully – his life’s work, his passion. Peace and excitement, who wouldn’t want to feel that after working for years to bring a dream alive?
11. “Energy and persistence conquer all things.” – Benjamin Franklin
Write this down somewhere and make sure to glance at it on your worst days. On the days you feel stuck, defeated and like giving up, remember that your greatest assets are energy and drive. You don’t have to be the smartest, the brightest, the most gifted, or the cleverest. But you DO need to keep trying and to take care of yourself so you always have energy to keep going.
12. “Passion is the genesis of genius.” – Galileo Galilei
We’ve mentioned this before – if you are innately passionate about solving some problem or creating something new that will improve life for people around the world, you desire to be successful will feel second nature, especially during the toughest of times. If you follow your passion, you may stumble across a genius concept or notion that feels as easy as breathing. You’ll have the drive to devote time, money and maybe your life’s work, without a second thought. So if you’re feeling unmotivated, re-center yourself and go back to what truly excites you.
13. “Anyone who stops learning is old…Anyone who keeps learning is young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” – Henry Ford
Ford kept things simple for us – always keep learning, no matter what. The moment you think you’ve learned all there is to know about a topic, you are shooting yourself in the foot, innovatively speaking. No matter your age, your accomplishments, your intelligence, there is always something more to learn. Remembering this can motivate you pick up a book – or open a new Google search – and start learning something new.
14. “Give me but a firm spot on which to stand, and I shall move the earth.” – Archimedes
Wow – Archimedes gives us chills with these powerful words! Although this quote is open to interpretation, we feel Archimedes is stating the power of confidence, and the power to convey the importance of one’s idea to others. With some confidence and help from the right sources – “a firm spot on which to stand” – we can achieve amazing things. Sure, Archimedes was thinking big, but we catch his drift!
15. “An inventor fails 999 times, and if he succeeds once, he’s in. He treats his failures as simply practice shots.” – Charles F. Kettering
Thank you, Kettering, for a sports analogy we can truly understand! All it takes is one great idea to take off – even if hundreds of other didn’t – to hit it big with an invention. Much like taking shots in basketball, or taking hits in baseball. More times than not, you’ll shoot air balls or strike out. But then you’ll practice more, and the next you might score big. Use this analogy when brainstorming or motivating yourself to invent, and your failures will all start to look like practice shots.Only fifteen bits of of wisdom and we’re already so inspired and ready to put some of these ideals to work! And there’s no reason to stop there. If any of the words of these geniuses really resonated with you in a special way, learn more about their life, passion and works for an even bigger dose of motivation. You never know, someone could be reading a book about your inventions someday...
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