I came across this story about Thomas Edison today:
Edison was sent home from school with a letter for his mom. He asked his mother, “What does the letter say?” She said, “It says, your son is incredibly intelligent beyond our capabilities of teaching him. Our recommendation is to remove him from traditional school and for you to homeschool him.”
After Edison’s mom died, and when he already became a renowned American inventor, he came across this letter. The letter actually read, “Your son is mentally challenged, and we cannot teach him. He is officially expelled from school.”
Lovely story, right?
I looked into it.
It’s historical fiction.
The real story is even better.
In a rare interview with a long extinct newspaper, T.P’s Weekly published on 29 November 1907, Edison said:
“One day I overheard the teacher tell the inspector that I was “addled” and it would not be worthwhile keeping me in school any longer. I was so hurt by this last straw that I burst out crying and went home and told my mother about it.
Then I found out what a good thing a good mother is. She came out as my strong defender. Mother love was aroused, mother pride wounded to the quick. She brought me back to the school and angrily told the teacher that he didn’t know what he was talking about, that I had more brains than he himself, and a lot more talk like that.
In fact, she was the most enthusiastic champion a boy ever had, and I determined right then that I would be worthy of her and show her that her confidence was not misplaced.”
There is tremendous power in humans to rise to the level of what someone believes we are capable of. When I work with our coaching clients I SEE the person they can become under our guidance, and I expect it of them and support them toward that level. But even along the journey, I see them at their next level versus where they are today, and that leads to faster results.
Edison’s mom was able to see her son for the man he was born to become, not a struggling boy who was written off by his teachers.
So what? What action can you take today?
You can take 2 action steps:
First, give a gift of holding someone in high honor and high regard to the closest people in your life. Your partner, your children, your siblings, your parents, your best friend, your best clients … Who can you connect with today to say and show you believe in them?
Second, find someone to do the same for you. To see you and treat you NOW as the person you were born to become and can become. Find someone who will truly believe in you. Use that high expectation and high regard as fuel to expect it from yourself, and to see yourself that way NOW.
And if you can’t find anyone, become that person for yourself. Or work with us as part of one of our programs and I can serve that role for you.
The bottom line is:
Henry Ford said it well: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”
There is another level for you. It’s higher than you think is possible. And you WILL most likely get there if you BELIEVE you CAN get there.
Thomas Edison’s mother was the making of him.
Who is going to be the making of YOU?
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