Thomas Edison tried over 2000 different filaments before he was able to create a market viable light bulb. Some filaments burnt out. Others were too expensive to source. Still others were too labor intensive.
Edison and his team invested countless hours exploring these dead ends. Each filament took days or even weeks of work before it could be discounted as a possibility. Some showed early signs of success— burning bright and seeming to last — only to be proved as a non viable option over time.
Stories say that Edison would become nearly giddy with each failed attempt. He loved failure! He’s credited with saying: “Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.”
It’s hard for many of us to imagine enjoying investing so much time and energy in exploring a possibility only to come to a dead end— yet that’s the reality of the creative process for Edison. He wasn’t succeeding unless he was failing. To put it in Edison’s words: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”