Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration – Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison is believed to have said “ninety per cent of a man’s success in business is perspiration.”
There are few other versions of this quote circulating including:
Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.
90% of a man’s success in business is perspiration

In addition to Genius & perspiration quotes.

I will leave the Genius & perspiration quotes for another post, and only focus on these ones because these ones are more about the association idea-execution, while the others fall in another category. Let’s examine these quotes:

90% of a man’s success in business is perspiration.
Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.

– Thomas Edison

To start off the bat, the quotes are wrong from a absolute exactness point of view. Why ? Because how can you put an exact number on a fluid and vague subject as this? You just can’t.
So whether it is 90%, 80%, or even 50%, it does not matter, they are all bogus values given by a guy with no exact statistical analysis.

However, if we try to understand the global point without really stopping on exact details, then yes, the quote does make sense. Furthermore i would even classify it in the category of quotes that call to take action, like:
It’s easy to have ideas, it’s very hard to turn an idea into a successful product – Jeff Bezos
There’s no shortage of remarkable ideas, what’s missing is the will to execute them – Seth Godin
Ideas are worthless. Execution is everything – Scott Adams
Dreams are a dime a dozen. It’s their execution that counts – Theodore Roosevelt
The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. – Walt Disney

Hard Work is Needed.

Thomas Edison values hard work, and does understand the amount of work involved to bring a good idea to life, the following quote is a great insight into his view: I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. – Thomas Edison

It is rare in business or in life for a man to be successful, without really putting lots of effort. For a businessman to be successful a lot of effort is needed, obviously a good idea or inspiration is essential, but it should be followed by a lot of hard work.

The quote comes in contrast to another quote by woody Allen, where he claimed that 80 percent of success is showing up. This basically validates my opinion, that both Allen and Edison are just spiting nonsense, putting values without having any statistical analysis to back their claims. These values have the roles of convincing their audiences of the legitimacy of their claims.

Here’s some similar quotes about hard work, that drive the idea home:

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure. – Colin Powell
The harder you work, the luckier you get
The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. – Vidal Sassoon

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Abdallah Alaili

I'm a serial entrepreneur (mostly tech) and micro-investor (tiny), this is a blog to learn from other entrepreneurs and spread the wisdom to many more. You can find me on: Instagram - Twitter - Linkedin - more about me