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Persistent Effort

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

IN talking with some inventors, and in reading the opinions of others, we have been greatly surprised to see what an estimate they put upon application in the field of invention. They insist that a young man of average ability, by severe and constant effort, can become quite an inventor. Mr. Edison says : " The question of natural aptitude enters into the matter, and without it no man can become a star, nevertheless it is an auxiliary attainment; dogged perseverance is the keystone of success. In the arts, such as painting, music, poetry, and so forth, a very special temperament may be required, but in the workshop of science, men of the sanguine, sandy kind come out ahead. The man who keeps at one thing, and never minds the clock, is always sure to do something. He may miss many social engagements, of course, but his success is assured."

Mr. Elmer Gates, of Washington, told me that it was his one great ambition to make permanent his school for teaching young men to become inventors. When I suggested to him the current opinion that inventors are rather born than made, he took issue with me at once, and said that any person of average ability, with proper instruction and persistent application, could be quite successful in this field of endeavor. Mr. Edison says : " I believe that any person, even of the most limited capacity, could become an inventor by sheer hard work. You can do almost anything if you will keep at it long enough. Of course, the man with a natural aptitude would get there first, but the other plodder would eventually gain his point. The constant brooding on the one thing is sure to develop new ideas concerning it, and these in turn, suggest others, and soon the completed idea stands out before you. Above all things a man must not give up, once he has outlined his plan of action. Once fairly on your way, don't stop because of some seemingly impossible obstacle in front of you. What you want may be just beyond your nose, though you do not see it. I once had that fact forcibly presented to me. I was working on an invention, and finally reached a point when I could go no further. The thing lacked something, but, try as I might, I could not tell what it was. Finally, I got angry at it, and threw the whole business out of the window. Afterward, I thought how foolish the action was, and I went out and picked up the wreck. In putting it together again, I saw just what was needed. Repairing the broken portions suggested it, and it was so simple that I wondered I had not seen it before. Now that slight addition to the apparatus could have been ascertained by a little thoughtful experimentation. I suppose I found it out quicker because of the ` accident,' but that does not alter the moral of the incident."

It is painstaking, persistent endeavor, which tells in the religious world. What new worlds of thought and feeling are opened to the heart which is persistent in its meditation and devotion ! What vast results follow the efforts of those who labor for the Divine Master, year in and year out. It is the one who holds out in the race, who wins the prize; who remains faithful unto death, who secures the crown of life.

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