If Innovation is “1% Inspiration and 99% perspiration”, why are all business books focused on the 1%?

Inspiring stories sell books, but they unintentionally reinforce the myth of the Hero leader that has all the answers.

As human beings we are drawn to great stories. They inspire us, connect us, and are a great source of learning.

Narratives focused on the cult of success and the admiration of Hero leaders condition us to believe we should have all the answers. “Fake it till you make it” teaches us we should act as if we have all the answers, even if we don’t. This results in the curse of leadership called Success Theater.

Thomas Edison knew breakthroughs do not come from “lightbulb” moments (pun intended). His quote captures this perfectly;

“Genius is 1% Inspiration and 99% perspiration”.

Thomas Edison

Turning vision into reality is hard, disciplined execution is exhausting, and it is easy to get off track. Edison’s quote is a great reminder of what it takes to be truly successful; Intellectual humility and Resilience.

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