Alexander Graham Bell Hated Telephones

“When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”
– Alexander Graham Bell, scientist, inventor, innovator (1847-1922)

Best known as inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell was so famous for parlaying his experience in the family hearing-assistance business into a huge telecommunication conglomerate with an appliance that may be the most widespread electronic device on the planet that his native Scotland, his adopted country Canada and his final country of residence the USA all claim him as their own.

As a scientist and inventor, Bell would have been very familiar with doors closing on him, with experiments that failed time after time. Failure didn’t deter him because he knew that success would follow if he stayed the course.

We’re all familiar with doors closing on us. Many of us will be familiar with looking back to see the doors we should have opened afterwards that we didn’t.

What about those doors that Bell said open for us, but that lead nowhere or that we can’t make a success of? There is no point in launching ourselves into a new venture that could result in our bankruptcy.

That last word–bankruptcy–or fear of it, keeps many of us from opening new doors.

The problem is not that new doors don’t make themselves available to us. The problem is that we have been taught by our social and education systems that “new doors” must lead to financial success. Many people define success in financial terms, not in terms of self fulfillment, happiness, productiveness, raising a thriving family or even achieving in life goals other than financial ones.

Alexander Graham Bell didn’t make his fortune by inventing something that everyone wanted. (In fact, he found the telephone a nuisance and wouldn’t even have one in his office.) He became rich by searching for a device that hearing impaired people could use. His mission was a charitable one, not a quest for great wealth. The fact that everyone wanted his new device, that it opened up a new age of communications and made him and his successors ever since very rich were side benefits.

If we search for new doors to open when older familiar ones close on us to improve ourselves or to help others in some way, we will find many possible doors to open.

Searching for a door to make us rich is a sure route to failure. If there were such a door, there would be 6.5 billion others of our kind lined up to open it with us.

Success–even of the financial kind–is not about what we can get, but about what we can give, about what we can offer to others that they need and find valuable. Sometimes what we can give is only our time and effort. But those who need what we give will appreciate it very much. Appreciation is a welcome opiate.

If we better ourselves so that we have something more valuable to offer to others, sometimes that turns into financial success as a benefit.

Sometimes giving of ourselves to others makes us feel needed, valuable, someone who has a worthwhile mission in life. Those who are most loved are those who give the most love.

That’s a goal that rich people can only dream about. Yet it’s one you can achieve yourself.

Bill Allin
‘Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems,’ a guidebook for parents, grandparents and teachers about what kids need and how to satisfy needs that most of us don’t even realize our kids have.
Learn more at http://billallin.com

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