John Maxwell tells a story of the famous inventor Thomas Edison in his book, Self-Improvement 101. In an interaction with the Governor of North Carolina, the Governor complimented Edison’s creative genius. Edison humbly responded, “I am not a great inventor.”
Confused by his comment, the Governor reminded Edison that he had more than a thousand patents to his credit. However, Edison claimed the phonograph as his only original invention. Not understanding his claim, Edison explained to the Governor:
Well, I guess I’m an awfully good sponge. I absorb ideas from every course I can, and put them to practical use. Then I improve them until they become of some value. The ideas which I use are mostly the ideas of other people who don’t develop them themselves.
Thomas Edison had an unquenchable hunger to learn and grow. His deep commitment as a lifelong learner was the catalyst that ignited him to take action on ideas. While most people come up with some good ideas, very few actually turn them into reality. Edison wasn’t one of those people. He let his voracious appetite for personal growth cross that great chasm that exists between idea and implementation. He was more than a theorist. His growth was practical, applicable, and relevant.
Question: Does your personal growth move beyond ideas to practical application?