Thursday, July 29, 2010

Magical Moment 175, "Record of a Sneeze"

Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. I learned that in second grade and never gave it another thought. But today, I learned that he held patents for thousands of other inventions and employed over 10,000 people in his company that literally did nothing but continuously invent stuff.

Thomas Edison National Park in West Orange, NJ is the location of his enormous “invention factory,” complete with a chemistry lab, blacksmith shop, and supply house stocked with every material imaginable from seashells to cows feet. There, he and his thousands of inventor employees, spent day after day dreaming, experimenting, and building.

It’s the spot of the very first motion picture house where Edison made the movie, “Record of a Sneeze.” It’s also where he bellowed the nursery rhyme, “Mary had a Little Lamb” into the first, crude tinfoil sound recording device.

As we walked through the museum, I learned that he worked tirelessly on his ideas, sometimes 90-100 hours a week. He is famous for quotes such as, “There is no substitute for hard work” and, “Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.” Principles which he certainly lived by. 


It makes me wonder, did he have any idea the ripple effect that his black and white, soundless sneeze would have on the world for decades to come? It boggles my mind when I really stop to think about it. His passion and persistence literally changed the world and affected millions and millions of people.

I, like most people, am not out to change the course of the world or anything, but I do hope to contribute. To positively impact someone’s life and use my gifts the best way I know how. And maybe that will have a significant ripple effect of its own in some way. I think everyone has a passion for something. And if we recognize it, embrace it, and pursue it, there is no limit to the inspiration it can have on the world.