Experiment As If You Were Thomas Edison

Photo by Michael Competielle

Recently I traveled to visit family in Ft. Myers Florida under the threat of Hurricane Dorian. Far from ever having experienced a Hurricane or even a tropical storm I was excited to make the journey from my Home in New Jersey.

As a family we decided that the impending category 5 storm was far from a risk we continued to explore and enjoy our extended weekend as we had planned. Top of the list was a trip to the 21 acre botanical garden Edison/Ford Winter Estates in Ft. Myers.

Knowing my mothers love for botanical gardens and passion for exploring we headed over to scope it out. Originally built by Thomas Edison as a winter home to get away for a month or so from the New Jersey winters and function as an experimental laboratory to find a suitable rubber plant replacement. Edison built the main house, guest house, study, caretakers house, swimming pools and gardens on the Caloosahatchee River side of McGregor Estates Blvd. A winding palm tree lined road tastefully adorned with stunning waterfront estates.

Edison had named his tropical property “Seminole Lodge” which he had planted over 1,000 plant varieties from around the world. During World War I Edison grew concerned with America’s reliance on foreign rubber trees and decided to experiment with over 17,000 exotic species of plants to find a suitable replacement. Edison settles on Leavenworth’s Goldenrod which is native to the southeastern United States.

Edison found a growing need in finding a suitable rubber replacement. His tenacious character as an experimenter and inventor led him to develop over a thousand specialized inventions of products necessary for the advancement of modern life and technologies.

Edison’s quest to find solutions to develop new and innovative products came along with substantial failures. Of the 17,000 plant species tested to obtain a suitable rubber replacement how many of those experiments were failures? None.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas Alva Edison

Find that void in your world and continue to find solutions to the problems. Many efforts you will experiment with won’t work. The key is to realize what doesn’t work, move on to the next until you find a solution.