Thomas Edison’s Secret to Success: Embrace Mistakes & Failures

If we face up to the possibility of mistakes, we’ll learn to improve faster and thrive

Victor Mong
4 min readAug 8, 2021


Photo by James Kovin on Unsplash

Life is trial and error. Nobody can claim to be certain what the outcomes of their decisions and actions will be.

No matter what we plan to accomplish, we can’t wait until we have all the facts or are certain of success. That’s why being able to take action in spite of the risk of failure is often regarded as a critical element of success.

Thomas Edison; the man who invented the light bulb, failed many times and endured many mistakes until he got his breakthrough.

One day, a reporter asked him: “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?”

Edison replied: “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps. Great success is built on failure, frustration, even catastrophy.”

Most people suffer from mistake intolerance. They believe they have all the answers and can’t possibly be wrong about anything.

The downside is that this attitude limits their ability to solve problems. Why? Because if we think we already know the answer, we’ll close down ourselves and pass up the opportunity to learn from others.

Mistake intolerance creates what psychologists call the “God Complex.” This is when a person holds the belief that they are infallible.

When you suffer from the God complex, you’ll often see yourself be incapable of making mistakes because of the inflated feelings of your own ability and knowledge.

But it’s all an illusion.

It will be great if we knew everything we needed to know and never have to worry about how our choices and decisions will turn out. But part of becoming unstoppable requires being humble about the limits of our own individual abilities.

“We have no idea why a certain thing will work. But the moment you step back from the God Complex and you say ‘let’s just try a bunch of stuff’, ‘let’s have a systematic way of determining what’s working and…



Victor Mong

I write about human potential, building a life you want & mastering your mind ||