THE GREATEST ACCIDENTAL INVENTIONS OF ALL TIME
Thomas Edison once said that “Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits”. Groundbreaking inventions might not always necessarily be deliberate; but what is almost always deliberate is the conscious and undaunted effort that goes into the discovery of something new. Success will always naturally gravitate into prepared hands… Mother Nature and Divine Providence are never wasteful. Some great inventors never discovered what they truly set out to find; but the persistence and diligence applied to their search, led to discovery of other very useful inventions. The importance and relevance of diligence in every area of our lives cannot be discounted… Greatness can be achieved in the most unlikely of places. Here are a few inventions that have taught me so much about life.
PENICILLIN: Penicillin is indeed one of the most fortunate accidents of the 20th century. This widely used anti-biotic was discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming, a Scottish scientist. One day Fleming left his working station, without cleaning it up, and went on vacation. On his return he noticed a strange blue-green mould around some of his bacterial clusters. This blue green mould was Penicillin. Penicillin antibiotics are historically significant because they are the first drugs that were effective against many previously serious diseases, such as syphilis, and infections caused by staphylococci and streptococci.
MICROWAVE: Percy Spencer, an engineer at Raytheon, was known as an electronics genius. In 1945, Spencer was fiddling with a microwave-emitting magnetron—when he felt a strange sensation in his pants. Spencer paused and found that a chocolate bar in his pocket had started to melt. Figuring that the microwave radiation of the magnetron was to blame (or to credit, as it would turn out), Spencer immediately set out to realize the culinary potential at work. Then he placed a small bowl of pop corn in front of the magnetron and it quickly popped. The end result was the microwave oven—saviour of eager snackers and bachelors worldwide.
X RAY: In 1895, Wilhelm Roentgen, a German physicist, was experimenting with cathode rays. During his experiment, he noticed a piece of fluorescent cardboard which lighted the whole room. He placed a thick screen between his cathode rays and the radiated cardboard. And the physicist was amazed to see that brilliant images can be produced with this incredible radiation and took an X-Ray photograph of her wife’s hand. He was able to prove that particles of light were passing through solid objects.
SUPER GLUE: In what has been a very messy moment of discovery in 1942, Dr. Harry Coover of Eastman-Kodak Laboratories found that a substance he created—cyanoacrylate—was a miserable failure. In his search for materials to make a clear plastic gun sights—the substance infuriatingly got stuck to everything it touched; so it was forgotten. Six years later, while overseeing an experimental new design for airplane canopies, Coover found himself stuck in the same gooey mess with a familiar foe—cyanoacrylate was proving useless as ever. But this time, Coover observed that the stuff formed an incredibly strong bond without needing heat. Coover and his team tinkered with sticking various objects in their lab together, and realized they had finally stumbled upon a use for the maddening goop. Coover slapped a patent on his discovery, and in 1958, a full 16 years after he first got stuck, cyanoacrylate was being sold on shelves.
SACCHARINE: For most chemists not washing their hands before eating may prove to be lethal. However, this unhygienic act led Constantin Fahlberg to notice a sweet flavour. Artificial sweetener was invented in 1879 because Fahlberg forgot to wash his hands before eating. He was trying to come up with new and interesting uses for coal tar when he took a break from his work, and went home. While eating the rolls he noticed something sweet. Surprised with the new taste he asked his wife if she had done anything new to the rolls. But she had not. It was then that Fahlberg realized that the sweet taste must have been coming from his hands. Fahlberg returned to his lab the very next day and started working to find out the sweet spot. He consulted with his mentor, Ira Remsen, who was also the in charge of the lab. And later, the duo published a research paper which explained the newly discovered sweet substance Saccharine.
In looking at my life, having seen 10years four times with some extras, short as it is at this time, though I’ve had many privilege of delivering results through thorough strategic planning; you may be shocked by how many foolish mistakes I have made, how many risky and foolish actions I have taken and how often and strangely, I made some of my best moves not by thorough strategic planning, but rather by accident. It’s almost a model in my life. The little achievements in my life came by the simple assertion. It’s grace! I think this is my pattern. They have happened accidentally but consistently enough for me to establish a mechanism that will sustain the pattern of the life of our concerns including the business. It works! It keeps us humble, and helps us to know that the best of ourselves is not always in our head; and the best of us despite our frailties and imperfections. Those who seek perfection never see perfect peace. Don’t ask me why, but those who accept their humanity, find amazing levels of strength and genius. I also know that I wouldn’t have stumbled into these things if I wasn’t moving. Let’s keep moving, in preferred and necessary direction especially; maybe we’ll keep stumbling and somehow, key ideas, key relationships, stumble into purpose and destiny or relevance. If we stumble into failure, let’s keep moving and soon, even failure will become a crucial tool – necessary ladder. Let’s keep moving… seeking and believing… even stumbling. This is TRANSFORMATION!!! And I urge everyone to get on board…
References: gizmodo.com, top10zen.com