Thomas Edison - 10,000 things that have failed

“I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 things that do not work.” –Thomas Edison

Failure is my biggest enemy. I fear it. I hate it. I want to defeat its existence. It’s more comfortable to only “go for it” if we can predict the outcome or the likelihood of success. We want to shield ourselves from the pain of recovering from the failure, instead of making a note that the one attempt just may not be the correct route. Thomas Edison is said to have made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at the light bulb. J.K. Rowling submitted the Harry Potter manuscript to 12 major publishers and was rejected by every single one. Walt Disney was told he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”

Fun fact about me – I have never (yet) completed a set of monkey bars. I failed a few times as a child and never attempted them again, because I believed I failed. It was not until I joined the Spartan community in 2020, before the world fell apart, that I touched them again. In training I’d get to the first bar and fall before connection to the second bar. I have still yet to find what works for me, but I can get seven bars across. However, in my second race I was able to flip a 200 lb. tire by myself. Granted, I dropped it on my knee the first attempt, then attempted again and was successful.

Success and recovery are not smooth, easy courses. They both require determination and drive, and resilience to push through the difficult times. You’re going to fall, get bruised, cry, and get angry. Try something different – you’ll get it soon.

Kristen Ellis

Kristen has worked in the mental health field since 2013, with a focus on crisis work, substance use services, and bringing a voice to lived experience. Her ambition is to change the way mental health care and recovery is seen and achieved, so to redefine what it means to defeat adversity. She is a storyteller and the editor of