Remarkable people aren’t born, they’re made — self-made, in fact. History has seen the birth and demise of innumerable inventors across centuries, and they’ve all left a little piece of themselves behind in their inventions.
It would be hard to imagine our lives without their contributions. Here are some valuable personal growth and development lessons from famous inventors to take to heart and leave your own mark on the world.
What makes an inventor?
In the movies, inventors are often portrayed as elusive, near-mythological characters, with unusual minds who set out to do miraculous things the average person can only dream of. But in reality, inventors are just ordinary people who put in the time and effort to build their skills and create solutions to everyday problems.
Inventors come up with products and services that address issues people have, including new technology, research processes, medication, clothing, manufacturing equipment, etc.
Of course, whether or not their inventions are successful relies on various factors. This could be cost, need, demand, or functionality. They could even be usurped by better inventions and be lost to the greying haze of time, but each contribution holds value — in some way, they’ve made a difference by helping us communicate better, heal well, or even understand a phenomenon that has eluded humanity.
Often credited as ‘geniuses’ and ‘prodigies’, all it took for them to get started was passion — and there are some valuable tips to obtain from their lives. Let’s talk about it.
Lesson to learn
Traits that are common among inventors may seem inherent, but with some effort and time, you can also inculcate these traits within yourself. Use the following as a guide to help you greatly improve your personal growth and achieve your career goals.
The first and most important lesson is to stop yourself whenever you’re about to make an assumption. Assumptions are more often factoids than they are facts, and will not help you solve an issue.
Assumptions are like poison. When they take root, they can weed their way into every thought you hold and warp them. Always search for tangible evidence to support your thoughts. Try to make observations that are factual.
Planning is something that can’t be understated. It’s a vital step in developing yourself as an employee, a friend and even just a person. Take at least half an hour a day to plan your tasks out. See what frivolous activities can be cut out. Identify and prioritise vital tasks, and organise them from the least time-consuming ones to the heaviest and most time-consuming.
You’ll find you have more time in the day to do things for yourself and thus, you’ll be feeding energy and enthusiasm back into your work cycle.
Patience is a virtue and yields incredible results when exercised. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Patience is a bridge that enables you to work through even the toughest times with ease. If a problem seems difficult, tackling it with impatience is the worst thing you can do.
Instead, take a break. Go for a walk or have some dessert. Once you feel sufficiently detached from the issue, relax and refocus your attention on the bigger picture. You’ll notice details you may have missed before and solutions will begin presenting themselves.
You may have heard people say that logic and creativity are two different concepts. This is untrue. They are simply two sides of the same coin. If you’re working on something heavily technical and find the hurdles too high to cross, creativity would be the trampoline at the base that launches you over it.
Every famous inventor found an unconventional way to do something incredibly mundane. That’s what set them apart. The ‘unconventional’ stems from creativity.
Inspiration is a powerful thing. It’s like a potion that rejuvenates you when you feel like you’re on your last leg. Surround yourself with things that inspire you. Read books about people you admire, watch Ted Talks, and create a Pinterest board with images that motivate you.
You can listen to podcasts or even build a motivational playlist on Spotify! There is no shortage of sources for inspiration. A very interesting source that never runs dry stands is talking to people. Every single person on Earth is unique and each one has a story to tell. Listen to their words and ask them questions. There’s a whole world of untold truths that are yet to be heard, waiting to inspire you.
Mentorship is vital
To make yourself the sole authority on anything is dangerous. Even Sir Isaac Newton, one of the greatest thinkers known to mankind, said: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.
Look for mentorship. It doesn’t matter if you’re 15 or 50, there’s always going to be somebody out there with valuable advice. Follow in their footsteps and you’ll see life in a whole new way.
Empathy is what keeps society together. While some may find empathising difficult, it is crucial in order for humanity to overcome barriers and grow. For example, if you want to create a device that helps people who are hard of hearing (HOH), then you must first empathise with this community.
You may think you know what they need, but the truth is, you’re more likely to stumble (and again, get caught up in assumptions) if you don’t speak and interact with them to understand the issue at hand.
Never stop learning
The greatest gift we’ve been bestowed is our ability to learn. Lifelong learners are more likely to find success in everything they do than those who refuse to learn. Continuous learning doesn’t take skill, it takes commitment.
In addition to that, there are no excuses left in the modern age to not commit to learning. Free courses are now easily available to anyone who seeks them. There are dozens of helpful tools for just about every field of study available online.
If you set aside just two to three hours a week to learn, you’ll be able to master countless skills within just a year!
Never give up
If every inventor gave up whenever they encountered an obstacle, we may have never invented the wheel. Perseverance is valued by everyone for a very simple reason — it helps make the impossible, possible.
The greatest and most revered names in history all had this in common. When they faced a hurdle, they found a way around it — no matter how long it took, no matter how difficult it was, they found a way. If they could do it, so can you, and don’t ever think that you can’t.
Remember, when there’s a will, there’s a way.