Posts Tagged ‘thomas edison’

Flexible Focus #19: Path to the Eureka moment

by William Reed on September 16, 2010

The Greek polymath Archimedes (c. 287-212 B.C.) was asked by the King of Syracuse to determine if his Crown was pure gold, or the goldsmith had tried to deceive him by mixing in other metals. How to measure it? Archimedes is said to have come up with the solution after immersing himself in the public bath, suddenly realizing that the volume of his body could be calculated by measuring the volume of the water that it had displaced. If the volume of the Crown could be calculated in the same way, the density of the gold in the Crown could be measured indirectly. Comparing the volume of water displaced by the crown to that displaced by the bar of pure gold would tell if the gold in the Crown was true.

This was no dry insight. It supposedly caused him to shout, “Eureka!” (I found it!) while running home naked through the streets of Athens. Even if the story has been embellished in myth, the man and his discovery were real. Equally real is the process of that discovery, known as the Eureka moment, the aha-moment, the breakthrough of unexpected discovery.

If taking a bath was all there was to it, then breakthrough insights would be as easy as stepping into the shower. It happened to Archimedes because of who he was, and because of his total engagement in solving the problem. With full engagement it is possible for anyone to experience how a small thing can trigger a big discovery.

Thomas A. Edison (1847–1931) is one of history’s greatest geniuses. His numerous inventions, including the electric lightbulb, the motion picture camera, and the electric power generator, have made the modern world possible. Edison is a perfect example of full engagement, famous for his quote that, genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. Often interpreted as a vote for diligence and hard work, in fact it describes a prerequisite to the Eureka moment. The electric lightbulb, Edison’s most famous invention, is now a universal symbol of creativity and inspiration.

Using the Mandala for meditation

The Mandala Chart emerged, or at least was influenced by Buddhist philosophy. Any discussion of clarity would be incomplete without also mentioning meditation. In Japanese Zen Buddhism, the approaches to meditation which are most relevant here come from the Sōtō School, and the Rinzai School. At the risk of oversimplification, one of the primary differences between the two schools is in their respective approaches to meditation.

Sōtō Zen emphasizes the practice of just sitting (shinkantaza), which far from laziness, demands the utmost of vigilance to your posture, breathing, and existence in the present moment. Rinzai Zen also employs meditation in the seated posture, but emphasizes the practice of solving a series of paradoxical parables called kōan, questions unanswerable by logic such as, What is the sound of one hand clapping? This training is also quite rigorous, for you cannot solve kōan through verbal discourse or clever word play. Students are watched closely and expected to do the same, gaining satori or sudden insights and understanding in stages along the way.

In either school the path is rigorous. It demands a level of commitment and dedication that is difficult to maintain in modern life. In many countries there are places where you can experience or practice Sōtō or Rinzai Zen, and it can be an excellent way to deepen your understanding. However, for many people this may not be a preference or even an option. As an alternative, I would like to propose two accessible practices which achieve some of the same effects, and can also enhance your ability to use the Mandala Chart.

The first is walking, just walking if you will, walking with awareness and attention to your body and your environment. There is much more to this than meets the eye, but walking can help you gain clarity on a problem or decision. It helps to begin or end your walk with a good look in the Mandala mirror of your choice.

The second is writing, the extended pursuit of a subject on paper. This has some parallels with kōan meditation. Writing can be done before, after, and even during your walkabout. Simply take a writing break in a park or café along the way. Writing makes your thoughts visible, and helps you find your way to the Eureka moment.

It is best to do your writing by hand. You can always collect and organize your thoughts later on a computer. Handwriting is more personal, more portable, and more spontaneous than typing on a keyboard.

Walk and Write for Clarity

For full engagement, it is important to involve both your hands and feet. The combination of walking and writing does just that. Ideas light your way, and help you see the path at your feet and the way ahead. What can you gain from this process?

  1. Freedom from attachment. Your mind will become freer to see things from any level of focus or perspective, releasing you from the grip of a fixed point of view.
  2. Beginner’s mind flexibility. In a famous saying by Zen Teacher Suzuki Shunryu, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”
  3. Insight and awareness. The combination of walking and writing develops insight and awareness at a deeper level.
  4. Centering and reset. As with meditation, walking and writing with the Mandala helps you get centered and find the core of the issue.
  5. Clear communication. The more clarity you have, the better your mind reflects. This clarity will also be reflected in how you communicate your ideas to others.
  6. Release of energy. Let go of the burden of unproductive thoughts and negative feelings, and you will have extra energy to focus on your ideas and insights, and how you can use them to help others.
  7. Eureka moment and humor. You need not run naked through the streets, but you will experience the joy of sudden discovery in the Eureka moment.
  8. Awaken to your mission. The progressive effect of experiencing such moments is greater clarity on why you are here, and what you need to do.

Download the CLARITY MANDALA to use as a worksheet to help you on the path to the Eureka moment. Then enjoy and experience the process.

Don’t just Invent. Innovate.

by Robert Driscoll on July 26, 2010

There are many misconceptions about what inventions and innovations are in the marketplace, but they are two very different things.  You can invent something and not do anything with it.  Think of Bell Labs which has hundreds of thousands of patented inventions.  Many of these inventions are just simply ideas and only some were great enough to be innovative where it changed the marketplace.  Or think about Leonardo da Vinci.  A great inventor who was ahead of his time, but many of his inventions simply were not practical during his lifetime.  Now look at Thomas Edison.  While he might have failed hundreds of times trying to invent the light bulb, when he perfected his invention and introduced it in to the marketplace, he created an industry.  He was an innovator.

  • Innovation isn’t about being new to the marketplace.  Look at the iPod from Apple.  It wasn’t the first MP3 player in the marketplace.  They just did it right and made it simple.
  • Innovation isn’t about technology.  Look at Starbucks.  They’ve created a business model around selling coffee in a comfortable environment and charging a premium.  They weren’t the first ones to sell coffee. They just created an environment that people wanted from a coffee shop and marketed in right.
  • Innovation isn’t about doing it better.  Sometimes you just need to make your product simpler and more affordable.  Look at Windows from Microsoft.  They opened up a new marketplace where people could afford it and gain access to it easier.  They don’t have the best operating system in the marketplace, they just made it easier to use and made it affordable.
  • Innovation doesn’t always come out of big research and development budgets.  There might be some initial research and development, but you don’t have to go broke in the process.  Look at Red Bull.  They tapped in to the youth culture in clubs and created their own viral grass roots marketing campaign and turned it in to a multi-billion dollar empire.
  • Innovation doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.  You don’t have to spend a lot when you’re innovating.  You can do it very inexpensively and create a new marketplace with low overhead.  Ebay, for example, was profitable from almost day one and found a way to connect with the marketplace immediately.  Its first year revenues were modest, but it took the earning from its initial years of operation and invested it in to research and development to grow the service.

What do all of these have in common?  They’re obviously innovative products and services, but they all made an impact.  They all did something that was different in the marketplace that connected with its users.

Sometimes creating that next big thing is just simply doing it better than your competition or making it simpler.  Ideas are all around us.  Now innovate.

Fundamental Knowledge to prevent and fight flu

by Vijay Peduru on December 22, 2009

flu“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

– Thomas Edision

Since the flu season is setting in, We need to take good care of our health and our family’s health. Good health is an opportunity to take care of things which we want to take care of like our startup. if we are sick, things don’t happen and just come to a screeching halt.

There are several ways to fight flu., but if we understand the fundamental knowledge, it is easier to find “solutions” to prevent and fight flu. we won’t be misguided by all the advice out there.

As many of you are aware, the most fundamental thing to know is  that the flu and common cold is caused by Viruses and there is no medicine for Viruses. (strange isn’t it!). These viruses continuously mutate i.e they keep changing their DNA Structure, so it is difficult to create any medicine for these types of viruses.  If there is no medicine, then the question arises on how to cure it. The answer is, Our amazing human body has the capacity to create the medicine by itself to destroy the virus if we let it do its work.

When a virus enters our body, our immune cells checks its memory  to see if it has destroyed this kind of virus before, if not, then it gets to work to find the right type of medicine, It keeps trying various combinations until it finds the right combination. When the body is actively working, it generates a lot of heat and this is what we commonly refer as “fever“. Once it finds the medicine, it starts killing the virus. After successfully killing the virus, it has to send the dead viruses out of the body. The body creates mucus and puts the destroyed viruses there and the mucus flows out of our body through the nose. This is what we call “Runny Nose“.  Anything we do to stop this natural flow, will inhibit our body to do its job. So, for example taking cold/fever medicines will inhibit the body too. So, unless it is absolutely needed, it is not recommended to take medications. In fact, if you ask the doctor, they will say “Take cold medicine only if required”, but we ignore the “if required” part and take them anyway. “if required” means we should take it only if the pain becomes unbearable.

Here are a few ways you can help your body fight the cold or flu when you see the starting symptoms.

1. Give good Rest to your digestive system: In our everyday life, When we focus our energy on the job at hand, we can complete it faster. If we have too many distracting tasks, we don’t do any of the things properly. In the same way, when a cold or flu virus enters our body, we have to let the body concentrate all its energy on eliminating the virus. If we take heavy food, then the body is “distracted” and has to perform both the digestion process and also has to prepare the medicine. The best option is to not eat any solid foods and take only liquids.

2. Take only liquids without any added sugars: Doctors advice to take plenty of liquids.  This means any liquid which is easy for digestion. Yes, this means Coffee and Tea are out. Some Juices have added sugars in them and need to be avoided as well. The best option is –  Take 200 or 250 ml warm water, mix four to five spoons of honey and Squeeze half a lime and drink it. This gives the needed energy for the body, The body needs about 800 calories per day when fasting  and taking the “warm honey water” about four to five times a day should be enough.

In the past three years, I had symptoms of a flu once and fought it back within a day by fasting with liquids.

Wishing you healthy holidays