Setbacks & the Optimist

You know how Thomas Edison put up with his setbacks? He apparently experimented over 10,000 times before producing the first incandescent lightbulb and when asked about the repeated "failures" he replied, "Oh, I have not failed-- I have found 10,000 ways that do not work."

Edison was the quintessential optimist. We not only can benefit a lot from his inventions, but also from the way he dealt with failure. Setbacks can actually bring you closer to your goal-- can you believe that?

Cope with Failure

"Failure" is part of learning. Believe that you have what it takes to overcome the obstacles that will (inevitably)land in your path. Here is an inspiring story from the BBC Devon:

A woman from Devon who finally passed her driving test after 23 years is now hoping to use her wealth of experience to help others.
Maria McCarthy from Sidmouth ripped up her L-plates after taking about 250 lessons, which cost her between £2,000 and £3,000.
The 42-year-old said getting her licence has given her a "badge of adulthood" and changed her life.
She has now written a book aimed at helping other women succeed.
'Terrifying' ordeal
"When I started learning to drive, I absolutely hated it," she told BBC News.
"I was quite good academically, but I knew immediately I wasn't going to be a natural. I was so clumsy.
"It was taking all the things I'm bad at and putting them all together.
"I was an aid worker in Romania, working in dodgy areas and seeing some really awful things, but I didn't bat an eyelid. Driving was something else entirely."
Her saving grace was a stubborn streak which would not let her give up, but she said her two driving tests were the "most nerve-racking experiences" of her life.
"I was a bit like Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind - shaking my hands at the heavens," she said.

 If I'd asked my instructor if I could put in for my test, he would just have laughed at me 
Maria McCarthy

When she finally passed her test two years ago, she set out to write her book - The Girls' Guide to Losing Your L-Plates - because of an "evangelical desire to spread the word".
The book has information, advice and some humorous anecdotes.
"I wrote about a woman who booked five tests, but failed to get out the test centre for three of them because of nerves."
Ms McCarthy said the reason it took her so many years to pass her test was simple.
Automatic success
"I just wasn't prepared. If I'd asked my instructor if I could put in for my test, he would just have laughed at me."
She finally passed her test at the second attempt after swapping to an automatic and taking a period of intensive lessons.
Ms McCarthy has presented her long-suffering driving instructor with a copy of her new book.
"He was quite pleased when I passed my test, but I think he was glad to see the back of me."

You can learn quite a bit about failure just by reading the above and thinking over how Mary ultimately handled the "notoriety" that surely came from taking 23 years to get her driver's licence.  

Believe that you WILL SUCCEED next time.

Remember not to take the 'failure' personally-- true optimists don't blame themselves for failures but are ready to take the credit for success... that they do take seriously and personally!  

Just keep on truckin' as we used to say back in the 60s.  Edison is famous for the quote that "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration"

With gratitude, I base this blog on the book "Learn to be an Optimist: A Practical Guide to Achieving Happiness" by Lucy MacDonald, a Quebec-based motivational speaker with an academic background in psychology and counseling.

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Thanks so much for commenting! Your wisdom & sharing helps someone else along their journey to life-long happiness and daily optimism! ~Cynthia