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  • steve richardson

It's Only A Fire


At 67 years old, Thomas Edison returned home after a long day in the laboratory. Thirty minutes later there was a knock at the door.


A messenger brought him the news that his research lab was going up in flames and despite the fire service attending the fire, they were losing the fight to save the lab.


On arriving at the site of the fire with his son, he could see there was indeed, nothing to be done. The chemicals inside the lab helped fuel an immense bonfire with flames dancing high into the air. He turned to his son and said excitedly, “Go get your mother and tell her to bring her friends. They will never see the like of this fire ever again!”


This, as he watched most of the research he gathered over a lifetime, going up in flames.


I find this story fascinating because it illustrates the stoicism of Thomas Edison. And it is interesting to note that one of the core principles of Stoicism is, ‘Know you are disturbed not by what happens but your opinion about it…’


Edison exemplified what is meant by truly living in the moment. Not the modern, often cliched version of being in the here and now.


Here, in the very moment he was losing his lifetime’s work, he condensed every perception, emotion, thought and fear into a single example of personal mastery, “Now, this is a fire to behold.”


So, for today, if challenges come your way, try choosing a calmer, more considered response.


After all, every fire is extinguished eventually .

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