Wilson Greatbatch died in September this year, but there are many who owe their lives to him. He invented the heart pacemaker, and what’s particularly interesting is that he did it by accident.

In 1956, Greatbatch was building a heart rhythm recording device, when he mistakenly inserted a resistor that was the wrong size. He noted that the circuit it produced emitted intermittent electrical impulses which seemed to mirror those of a human heartbeat. This single observation led to the development of the modern pacemaker, half a million of which are implanted every year.

He was just lucky then? Well not quite. You see, when he ‘got lucky’ he was working hard and he was taking action with something. And then when he had the lucky break, he invested his own time, effort and $2,000 savings into converting the chance discovery into something useable and marketable. During the development phase, he was forced to feed his family from his vegetable garden.

You see, that’s the thing about luck-you’re more likely to stumble across a piece of it if you’re taking action (any action!) with something. And if you do, it will usually only benefit you if you take hold of it, and use it as a stepping stone to something tangible. The people you hear about getting rich through a lucky break were usually working hard when they got it, and then worked even harder to turn it into money and a better life. Luck, on its own, is rarely enough.

Motivational Quote Of The Day

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”     

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Scott Adams

Alternative Quote Of The Day

I won’t say ours was a tough school, but we had our own coroner. We used to write essays like ‘What I’m going to be if I grow up.”

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Lenny Bruce

Another Invention By Accident

While working for Eastman Kodak in 1942, Harry Coover, attempted to create some material to make a transparent gun sight. It wasn’t a success. The resulting compound was simply too sticky. The same thing happened again when Kodak scientists were working on polymers for aeroplane canopies, and it was then that Coover – soon to be Sir Harry Coover – realised they might have discovered something useful after all.

Superglue went on sale for the first time in 1958. Aside from being responsible for more than its fair share of visits to hospital casualty departments, it’s made a big contribution to modern life. And it all came about by accident.

History is littered with examples of people who set out trying to do one thing and failed, but somehow managed to end up doing something better. What did they have in common? They were all trying to do something!

Today’s National Day   




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