[July 26, 2018] … and 90 percent perspiration. This famous quote is by Thomas Edison, a man often described as America’s “greatest inventor.”1 Great leaders inspire! They also understand that providing inspiration is only part of the formula and that working to see that inspiration achieves real results is where the hard work really happens.
“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, 19th-century American poet, philosopher, and essayist
Emerson had it right because, without inspiration, ordinary people will only do ordinary things. But what he understood and made clear in his later writings was that it takes more than inspiration for people to take their passion to the next level and achieve something of greatness. It takes focus, hard work, resilience, and patience to see their efforts through to the end.
I personally have found many young people who have a burning desire to make things right in the world. Many are dissatisfied with the injustices they see and the wrongs that never seem to be righted. What these young folks don’t have is the willingness to actually do something that will result in concrete achievements. They would rather post passionate words on the Internet through social media and whine about what could never be.
These young people have failed themselves because they have failed in their personal dreams. Why they are unwilling to actually make the effort to find solutions instead of complaining about them is something that would fill a psychologist’s notebook and already fills shelves with self-help books.
There is a key leader lesson to be learned here. Leaders can inspire and the skills required to do so are not easily come by. It requires experience and persistence. But what really matters is the more advanced ability to see this through to the logical conclusion. That is hard, often frustrating, and can be maddening when results are slow to come. Inspiration plus perspiration equals success.
1. “Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration.” – Thomas Edison: http://www.thomasedison.com/biography.html