56 Most Encouraging Thomas Edison Quotes on Pursuing Greatness

Thomas Edison was born on 11th February 1847 in Milan. When he was seven his family moved to Port Huron in the USA. By age twelve, Edison was an adept telegraph operator, working at stations for the Grand Trunk Railroad between Port Huron and Detroit, Michigan.

He became a telegraph operator after leaving school when he was sixteen years old. He continued in this line for three years, working at various stations. In 1863 Edison got a job as a telegraph operator in the Boston & Albany Railroad’s office in Grand Trunk Junction, where he stayed for less than a month. Later that year, Thomas Edison’s biography shows he began working for the Western Union Telegraph Company and was transferred to Livonia, Michigan. While he was there, Edison purchased a small battery-powered electric vote recorder. He improved the device by adding a sounder, which both recorded and received messages.

One day he accidentally spilled sulfuric acid onto the floor. The acid ran between the wooden floorboards without harming them. However, Edison found that this ruined the finish on his shoes. He placed a small piece of rubber on the floor next to his workbench, and when he spilled acid again, the resulting friction from mopping it up burnt a hole in the rubber. That gave him the idea to use rubber bands to insulate the electric wires used in telegraphy, which made them safer.

In 1869 Edison developed a stock ticker system to replace the old method of handwritten stock tables. In 1870 he moved back to New York City and founded a company for manufacturing electrical devices including telegraphs, stock tickers, fire alarms, and other instruments. He began supplying the Western Union Company with stock tickers that year.

His biography clearly shows that whatever he achieved was through hardwork and for that, we have compiled his best quotes to motivate you each day.

Thomas Edison Quotes

1. “Hard work, nothing to divert my thought, clear air and simple food made my life very pleasant.”– Thomas Edison

2. “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”– Thomas Edison

3.” Nearly every man who develops an idea works it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then he gets discouraged. That’s not the place to become discouraged.”– Thomas Edison

4. “Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.”– Thomas Edison

5. “Waste is worse than loss. The time is coming when every person who lays claim to ability will keep the question of waste before him constantly. The scope of thrift is limitless.”– Thomas Edison

6. “His genius he was quite content in one brief sentence to define; Of inspiration one percent, of perspiration, ninety nine.”– Thomas Edison

7. “Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.”– Thomas Edison

8. “The three great essentials to achieve anything worth while are: Hard work, Stick-to-itiveness, and Common sense.”– Thomas Edison

9. “The man who doesn’t make up his mind to cultivate the habit of thinking misses the greatest pleasure in life.”– Thomas Edison

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10. “People are not remembered by how few times they fail, but by how often they succeed. Every wrong step is another step forward.”– Thomas Edison

11. “The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease. They may even discover the germ of old age.”– Thomas Edison

12. “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”– Thomas Edison

13. “Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.”– Thomas Edison

14. “Nearly every man who develops an idea works it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then he gets discouraged. That’s not the place to become discouraged.”– Thomas Edison

15. “I know this world is ruled by infinite intelligence. Everything that surrounds us- everything that exists – proves that there are infinite laws behind it. There can be no denying this fact. It is mathematical in its precision.”– Thomas Edison

16. “Be courageous. I have seen many depressions in business. Always America has emerged from these stronger and more prosperous. Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith! Go forward!”– Thomas Edison

17. “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”– Thomas Edison

18. “The first requisite for success is the ability to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem incessantly without growing weary.”– Thomas Edison

19. “If parents pass enthusiasm along to their children, they will leave them an estate of incalculable value.”– Thomas Edison

20. “Until man duplicates a blade of grass, nature can laugh at his so-called scientific knowledge…”– Thomas Edison

21. “Unfortunately, there seems to be far more opportunity out there than ability…. We should remember that good fortune often happens when opportunity meets with preparation.”– Thomas Edison

22. “A genius is often merely a talented person who has done all of his or her homework.”– Thomas Edison

23. “The thing I lose patience with the most is the clock. Its hands move too fast.”– Thomas Edison

24. “We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature’s inexhaustible sources of energy–sun, wind and tide. I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”– Thomas Edison

25. “Inspiration can be found in a pile of junk. Sometimes, you can put it together with a good imagination and invent something.”– Thomas Edison

26. “I readily absorb ideas from every source, frequently starting where the last person left off.”– Thomas Edison

27. “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.”– Thomas Edison

28. “Having a vision for what you want is not enough…Vision without execution is hallucination.”– Thomas Edison

29. “The most necessary task of civilization is to teach people how to think. It should be the primary purpose of our public schools. The mind of a child is naturally active, it develops through exercise. Give a child plenty of exercise, for body and brain. The trouble with our way of educating is that it does not give elasticity to the mind. It casts the brain into a mold. It insists that the child must accept. It does not encourage original thought or reasoning, and it lays more stress on memory than observation.”– Thomas Edison

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30. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”– Thomas Edison

31. “I didn’t fail 1000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1000 steps.”– Thomas Edison

32. “I am not overly impressed by the great names and reputations of those who might be trying to beat me to an invention. It’s their ‘ideas’ that appeal to me. I am quite correctly described as ‘more of a sponge than an inventor.”– Thomas Edison

33. “Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success.”– Thomas Edison

34. “One might think that the money value of an invention constitutes its reward to the man who loves his work. But… I continue to find my greatest pleasure, and so my reward, in the work that precedes what the world calls success.”– Thomas Edison

35. “When I have fully decided that a result is worth getting I go ahead of it and make trial after trial until it comes.”– Thomas Edison

36. “A teacher sent the following note home with a six-year-old boy ‘He is too stupid to learn.’ That boy was Thomas A. Edison.”– Thomas Edison

37. “Mr. Edison worked endlessly on a problem, using the method of elimination. If a person asked him if he were discouraged because so many attempts proved unavailing, he would say, “No, I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”– Thomas Edison

38. “Education isn’t play–and it can’t be made to look like play. It is hard, hard work. But it can be made interesting work.”– Thomas Edison

39. “I have better use for my brain than to poison it with alcohol. To put alcohol in the human brain is like putting sand in the bearings of an engine.”– Thomas Edison

40. “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”– Thomas Edison

41. “The injurious agent in cigarettes comes principally from the burning paper wrapper. The substance thereby formed is called “acrolein.” It has a violent action on the nerve centers, producing degeneration of the cells of the brain, which is quite rapid among boys. Unlike most narcotics, this degeneration is permanent and uncontrollable. I employ no person who smokes cigarettes.”– Thomas Edison

42. “The world owes nothing to any man, but every man owes something to the world.”– Thomas Edison

43. “The great trouble is that the preachers get the children from six to seven years of age and then it is almost impossible to do anything with them.”– Thomas Edison

44. “I cannot believe in the immortality of the soul. No, all this talk of an existence for us, as individuals, beyond the grave is wrong. It is born of our tenacity of life – our desire to go on living – our dread of coming to an end.”– Thomas Edison

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44. “I have far more respect for the person with a single idea who gets there than for the person with a thousand ideas who does nothing.”– Thomas Edison

45. “Failure is really a matter of conceit. People don’t work hard because, in their conceit, they imagine they’ll succeed without ever making an effort. Most people believe that they’ll wake up some day and find themselves rich. Actually, they’ve got it half right, because eventually they do wake up.”– Thomas Edison

46. “Personally, I enjoy working about 18 hours a day. Besides the short catnaps I take each day, I average about four to five hours of sleep per night.”– Thomas Edison

47. “It’s obvious that we don’t know one millionth of one percent about anything.”– Thomas Edison

48. “We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.”– Thomas Edison

49. “There is no substitute for hard work.”– Thomas Edison

50. “I never did anything by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work.”– Thomas Edison

51. “The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around.”– Thomas Edison

52. “The best thinking has been done in solitude. The worst has been done in turmoil.”– Thomas Edison

53. “Maturity is often more absurd than youth and very frequently is most unjust to youth.”– Thomas Edison

54. “I have never failed, I’ve only shown the way I did it before doesn’t work.”– Thomas Edison

55. “Someday, man will harness the rise and fall of the tides, imprison the power of the sun, and release atomic power.”– Thomas Edison

56. “There’s a way to do it better – find it.”– Thomas Edison

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Thomas Edison Documentary –  The Wizard of Menlo Park

In this amazing documentary about Edison, you will learn why Edison is considered one of the most prolific inventors in the history of the world. His inventions have changed people’s lives. Everyone associates Edison with the lightbulb but most don’t know about his contributions to the motion picture industries or the phonograph.

Watch to learn about all of these.


Thomas Edison was a determined man, never letting anything get in his way of success. His work ethic is demonstrated through the many inventions he created.

We may not all be able to invent something that revolutionized our world, but we can learn from him how to work hard and achieve our goals.

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