TW Viewpoint | Alexander Graham Bell: Work With All Our Might

August 8, 2018 | Winston Gosse

Alexander Graham Bell is one of history's most famous inventors. By learning from his example we can source the motivation to work with all our might.


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On March 10, 1876 at the age of 29, Alexander Bell uttered his famous words over a new device that was about to change the world, "Watson, come here; I want you" was the instruction he gave to his assistant, Thomas Watson.

Bell once stated, "Self-education is a lifelong affair. There cannot be mental atrophy in any person who continues to observe, to remember what he observes, and to seek answers for his unceasing how and why about things."

It was through a process of research and experimentation that began a number of years earlier, which eventually culminated in what turned out to be a marvellous invention that transmitted words sent by electrical impulses through a wire to be heard at the other end. The device called the telephone was born! Ingenuity, inventiveness and hard work were in Bell's DNA!

Interestingly though the very device he invented he also refused to have in his study because of its distraction and intrusion into his work as a scientist. One wonders, if he was alive today whether he would own a cell phone!?

Bell was not only an inventor but also an engineer, a scientist, a teacher and professor. He made contributions in the fields of telecommunications, aeronautics, and hydrofoils. His work with the deaf, research into speech and hearing is well known. In fact he referred to himself as a "teacher of the deaf".

The fact that his wife had been born deaf contributed greatly to this motivation.

Working late into the night Bell was an incredibly hard worker. On the wall in the lab in which he toiled was a picture of an owl given to him as a joke because of his late working hours.

Even though he had this great passion for work he was also a very faithful and devoted husband and father. His devotion was a great strength for his wife. On his death bed, her last words to him were "Don't leave me.", he replied "No!" as he expired.

So often today if a man is passionate for his work he is criticized. Bell was devoted to his labours, yet his faithfulness and love for his wife and family were well known which greatly balanced his life.

In Bell we have a prime example of a man who did not consider work as a burden and a necessary evil. He was a man who thrived in his work.

It is said that "being busy does not necessarily mean being productive" yet Bell's passion for discovery and invention coupled with his focus and determination showed that he indeed was a productive individual. He was a man who turned dreams into realities.

Like any inventor he had failures and missteps but this did not deter him from moving ahead. Bell stated that "When one door closes another 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."

He also stated, "In scientific researches, there are no unsuccessful experiments; every experiment contains a lesson. If we don't get the results anticipated and stop right there, it is the man that is unsuccessful not the experiment."

Although not a particularly religious man, he certainly followed the work ethic principles found in the Bible.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 reads: "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might..." and a proverb instructs us that "The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich."

Bell was anything but lazy, never felt entitled and was filled with wonder of the around and his life was rich.

We tend to live in an age of entitlement where to do as little as possible and make as much as possible is the driving force. Thus, many have a negative view of work, where it was once considered positive and rewarding.

Alexander Graham Bell was a fine example of what our work ethic should look like. The dedication, determination, foresight and focus of this famous inventor allow us to conclude that he truly worked with all his might!

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