Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Edison on luck......................

A Saturday afternoon in January 2003.  Thomas A. Edison, "the happy-hooligan light shining out of his gray eyes," made his introductory speech to M. A. Rosanoff, a nervous new man in the chemical research department of the phonograph factory at West Orange who "approached him in a humble spirit: 'Mr. Edison, please tell me what laboratory rules you want me to observe.'  And right then and there I got my first surprise.  He spat in the middle of the floor and yelled out, 'Hell!  There ain't no rules around here!  We are tryin' to accomplish somep'n.....Do you believe in luck?'"  The trembling Rosanoff replied, "Yes and no.  My reasoning mind revolts against the superstition of luck, my savage soul clings to it."  "For my part," said the Old Man, launching into a volatile subject, "I do not believe in luck at all.  And if there is  such thing as luck, then I must be the most unlucky fellow in the world.  I've never once made a lucky strike in all my life.  When I get after something that I need, I start finding everything in the world that I don't need - one damn thing after another.  I find ninety-nine things that I don't need, and then comes number one hundred, and that -at the very last - turns out to be just what I had been looking for.  It's got to be so that if I find something in a hurry, I git to doubting whether it's the real thing; so I go over it carefully and it generally turns out wrong.  Wouldn't you call that hard luck?  But I'm tellin' you, I don't believe in luck - good or bad.  Most fellows try a few things and then quit.  I never quit until I got what I'm after.  That's the only difference between me, that's supposed to be lucky, and the fellows that thing they are unlucky.
-Edison: Inventing the Century, A Biography by Neil Baldwin

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