The Rotarian | December 2014
Real accomplishments are the result of observation, imagination, commitment, and discipline.
The first quality an inventor needs is observation. All people think they’re observant, but there’s a huge difference between “seeing” and “being observant.” To be observant is to notice the small things, every detail and what each one means. The main component of observation is curiosity, which is the desire to see more than the superficial. Imagination is the second important characteristic of inventors, because it helps them see how they could apply whatever they’ve observed to serve a different purpose. Observation leads a person to say, “That’s interesting.” But imagination leads a person to think, “What if that interesting thing could also …?” For inventors, commitment means not giving up in the face of many obstacles that appear between an observation and a practical use. For many of us it’s fun to do something as long as it’s easy. But once that thing becomes more challenging, a lot of people abandon it. Even after getting it wrong several thousand times, the successful inventor keeps coming back to try again – they are disciplined enough to see the prize in the distance.