Tag Archives: Thomas Edison

Edison’s Fire: How Do Champions Respond to Tragedy?

By Mark Bowser

Thomas Edison was one of the most prolific and influential inventors of all time. He changed all of our lives with inventions such as the incandescent light bulb, the phonograph, the movie camera and viewer, and the alkaline storage battery. Can you imagine what life would be like if we didn’t have these daily luxuries?

But, what does a genius like this do when tragedy strikes? Well, let’s find out. In December of 1914, a fire broke out at the Edison laboratories. Over $2 million in damages was done. The first tragedy was that there was only $238,000 of insurance on the labs. Why so little? Because the buildings were made of concrete and it was believed that the concrete made them fireproof. People also thought the Titanic was unsinkable. Now we know better.

But the biggest tragedy went beyond financial. All the projects and all the new inventions that he was working on went up in flames that night. All his notes, all is tinkering, all the projects – gone!

When Edison’s 24-year-old son Charles heard of the fire, panic struck his heart. He looked frantically for his father hoping that he was not in the laboratories when they went up in flames. He finally found his father standing quietly, calmly, and thoughtfully watching the flames engulf his dreams.

Edison looked at his son and asked if he knew where his mother was. He then said “… Bring her here. She will never see anything like this as long as she lives.”

The next morning, the 67-year-old Edison looked at the remains of his laboratories and said, “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.”

So, how does a champion deal with tragedy? They look forward. They look for the opportunities. They look for the good. And, they thank God for fresh starts.

*Mark Bowser is Professional Business Speaker and Author of several books including “Nehemiah on Leadership,” “Sales Success” with Zig Ziglar and Scott McKain, “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” and “Some Gave It All” with Danny Lane (endorsed by Chuck Norris)

Mark Bowser is the host of the popular podcast “Let Me Tell You a Story with Mark Bowser.” Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, and other major podcast platforms.

Mark Bowser can be reached at http://www.MarkBowser.com.