Why This Question Matters

By Paul E. Casey

Thomas Edison said, "Success is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration." In other words, an idea means nothing unless it’s executed. Proper execution is the driving force behind success. I’ve seen very creative minds come up with some great ideas but when it comes to putting the ideas into action - no one’s home.

By the time he invented the light bulb, Thomas Edison was already famous for having invented a number of other useful devices, including the phonograph. With the backing of investors like J.P. Morgan, Edison set out to invent an incandescent lamp that would run on electrical power. After Edison created his initial design for the light bulb, he assembled a team of scientists and electrical engineers to help him in his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

The first step was to have a glass blower blow a glass bulb that could be used as the basis for the lamp. For each experiment, Edison would insert a filament wire inside the bulb, then seal the bulb and vacuum the air out of it. His engineers would then hook the bulb up to a portable generator, turn on the electrical power, and hope for the best. Usually, either the filament wire would burn out in only a few seconds or the glass bulb would burst, and Edison and his team would have to go back to the drawing board.

It took Edison and his men over a year of experimentation to find a filament wire that would conduct electricity long enough to be practical. For a long time, they experimented with platinum wires rolled in carbon, but these only burned for a few minutes. Then Edison made a carbonized strip of cardboard in the shape of a horseshoe, and put that inside the bulb, and it burned for about forty hours. Then he and his men experimented with wires made from various types of Japanese bamboo, and these burned even longer. Finally, a few years after he had patented the light bulb in 1881, Edison discovered that tungsten wires could burn for over 1000 hours inside a light bulb. He had perfected his product, as he said, through “99 percent perspiration,” and tungsten wires are still used in light bulbs today.

I have met many great thinkers, talkers, and planners, but very few people who could successfully execute their ideas on a consistent basis. One person who has influenced me a great deal is the author late Jackie Collins, even though I have never read any of her books. I once saw her interviewed on a television talk show, in which she spoke about her book, Hollywood Housewives. After her book became a best seller, she said, people would come up to her at dinner parties or book signings, and say, “Oh, that was my book! I could have written that book! You took my ideas! I should have written that book!”

Ms. Collins said that she soon got very tired of hearing this. She resented the idea that other people thought that this should have been “their” book. She wanted to say to them, “No, this is not your book! This is my book! I was the one who got up at 4 am every day, and worked fourteen-hour days for six months researching, writing, editing, and getting this book published.”

I have never forgotten this interview with author late Jackie Collins. Her point is that an idea means absolutely nothing unless it is executed. An idea or concept will remain a dream unless you are willing to put in the long hours necessary to make your dream a reality.

Execution is an absolute must for sustaining a business. As mundane as it sounds, execution is what keeps the business going. Author late Jackie Collins has since written other best sellers. If 'Hollywood Housewives' had been her only book, she would have been long forgotten by now. Her book made the New York Times best seller's list because she had the talent to write a compelling book that could reach a wide audience. But her work ethics and her consistency in writing more books have kept her on this list.

Again, it’s the same with business. If you have the initiative to start a business that delivers a useful product or service to your clients, they will remember that product or service. But if you keep delivering that useful product or service to your clients, they will always come back to you for more.

Bottom Line: You will succeed only if you can take your inspiration and turn it into reality.

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Many dreams have been brought to your door step - they just lie there and they die there. - Nat King Cole – Mona Lisa

If you have the time to peruse or read the book, you will know everything about my business philosophy and what I consider imperative in developing relationships with clients. - Paul E. Casey