There’s a story about a guy named Edwin Barnes who desperately wanted to go into business with Thomas Edison (you know, the 10,000 ways how not to make a lightbulb guy).
Anyway, ol’ Barnes didn’t have a penny to his name and he’d never met Edison. But he focused so hard on his goal he convinced himself it was inevitable. All he needed was one shot to speak with the inventor.
So one day Barnes stowed away on a train and just showed up out front of Edison’s workshop declaring he’d come to go into business with him. Impressed and taken off guard, Edison offered Barnes a job – an hourly wage job doing “work unimportant to Edison.”
Haters might say he failed. But legend has it Barnes saw the job as the start of his business partnership with Edison. He put himself in the right place. All he needed was the right time.
Five years passed. Still no sign of opportunity beyond his hourly wage job. But Barnes did not flinch. And that’s precisely when his moment came.
Edison released a new machine which his salespeople claimed to be unsellable. The invention fascinated Barnes. Who approached Edison with a proposal.
“Tom, just give me a shot and I’ll sell this widget like ice-cold lemonade on a Mississippi summer day.” (okay, so I have no idea what he really said, but you get the picture)
And sell it he did. So successfully, in fact, that Edison entered into a business agreement with him to sell the machine all over the country. Which made him rich beyond imagination.
But this story isn’t about getting rich. It’s about the power of intention mixed with deliberate action.
Barnes did not wait around hoping and wishing that a great career opportunity might just happen to him.
He fixated on a specific outcome. Then he put himself in the way of opportunity.
Post inspired by Napoleon Hill’s Think & Grow Rich. Originally published via a weekly newsletter I write about how to live a more self-directed life.