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5 Must-Read Life Lessons from Alexander Graham Bell


Alexander Graham Bell was a prominent scientist, inventor, engineer and innovator who is credited with inventing the first “practical” telephone, although some believe he stole the idea from Elisha Gray.

Bell’s father, grandfather, and brother were all involved with work on speech and elocution, and both his mother and wife were deaf, profoundly influencing Bell’s life’s work.

Bell’s research on hearing and speech further led him to experiment with hearing devices. These experimentations eventually resulted in Bell being awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone in 1876.  Interestingly enough, Bell considered his invention an interference with his “real” work as a scientist and refused to have a telephone in his study.

Bell is also known for many other landmark inventions including his work in optical telecommunications, hydrofoils and aeronautics.   In 1888, Bell became one of the founding members of the National Geographic Society.


5 Must-Read Life Lessons from Alexander Graham Bell:


1. Development

“A man, as a general rule, owes very little to what he is born with – a man is what he makes of himself.”

You are what you make of yourself!

This is why self-development is so important; you are “exactly” what you have spent your time developing into.  You decide what you become.  You can develop into success or failure.  You can get better or worse, you decide.  A man, or woman, is what they make of themselves.

2. Preparation

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”

Les Brown said, “It’s better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one, then to have an opportunity and not be prepared.”  Are you prepared to succeed?  If the opportunity you’ve been waiting for suddenly appeared, would you be ready for it?

The first step to success is to be prepared.

3. Concentration

“Concentrate all of your thoughts upon the work at hand.  The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”

Alexander Graham Bell said, “What this power is I cannot say; all I know is that it exists and it becomes available only when a man is in that state of mind in which he knows exactly what he wants and is fully determined not to quit until he finds it.”  Are you concentrating?  Are you focusing all of your power on the work at hand?  You’ll never know your potential if you don’t focus your power.

4. Look for Open Doors

“Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open.”

Every time a door closes another one opens, look for the open doors, look for the opportunities that are in front of you.

Are you looking for opportunities?  It’s hard to find an opportunity if you’re not looking for it.  With every closed door there is a seed for something greater.

5. Steady Progress

“The most successful men in the end are those whose success is the result of steady accretion.”

Most people want overnight success, however, those who succeed, succeed as a result of many years of steady progress.  Are you making progress?  Are you closer to your goal this year in comparison to last year?

To succeed you have to make progress, you have to be consistent to win the race.  As the quote goes, “The race is not given to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but to the one who endures until the end.


Please tweet or stumble to motivate someone else!

Mr. Self Development is an author who teaches a motivational and practical guide to success.
Please visit him at Mr. Self Development.com.


21 Responses to 5 Must-Read Life Lessons from Alexander Graham Bell

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  3. Alison says:

    AGB was a great oppressor of deaf people. Despite the fact both his mother and wife were deaf, he supported eugenics and wanted to prevent deaf people from marrying each other. The telephone was a glorified hearing aid, in AGB’s quest to promote oralism and prevent sign language. This still has impact on deaf people today, and with it much hurt

    Those quotes mean nothing, when you’re abusing your power to be oppressive. If you still don’t get what I mean, think of a figure in history that supported racism and pretend you just quoted as inspirational means. See what I’m getting at? :-/

    Using power to push oppression is not cool.

  4. The Vizier says:

    Hi Mr Self Development,

    Alexander Graham Bell made many important contributions to the betterment of mankind. It is fitting that we take a look at some of the lessons that defined his life. I particularly like:

    1. Development

    This is very true. We are what we make of ourselves. Even if we are not dealt the best of hands in life, we can still turn things around with our efforts. It is never took late and we should never give up trying until we draw our last breath.

    2. Preparation

    Preparation is the key to success. Once we are clear about our goals, we need to prepare carefully to reach them. It is true that the best laid plans do not turn out the way we wish them to. But being prepared allows us to adapt quickly to the circumstances. We are less likely to be caught off guard this way.

    5. Steady Progress

    All things in life take time and effort. It is important not to take short cuts to try to speed things up. If you were to miss out the crucial steps, you would have to backtrack to correct them at some point. Rather, it is more prudent to makes steady progress and endure to the end.

    Thank you for sharing this article!

  5. Rich Proctor says:

    “A man, as a general rule, owes very little to what he is born with – a man is what he makes of himself.”

    What a great quote.

    In the past I’ve heard people saying that one is born with this quality, or that trait, be they good, bad or otherwise. I always think to myself – what a bunch of bunk!

    I believe we are almost completely a result of either, what we have consciously chosen to make of ourselves, or what we have unconsciously, and quite likely unknowingly, allowed to be conditioned into us.

    Without question we can wake up and choose to purposefully make something of ourselves at any moment.

    Thanks for the great post.

  6. John Gray says:

    My favorite lesson is development. It reminds me more of awareness. Once we are conscious of who we are, we produce whatever we are thinking about. Ive started practicing mediation and affirmations on a regular basis, and they really work.

  7. Thats indeed a motivating article. Persistence and patience are key to success.
    Valuable points. Thanks for sharing

  8. I totally agree with this. Many people think self improvement is just a “How to Fix”. I think that self improvement is a topic that makes you so alert and aware of who you are and what you want. If you have the discipline and make a habit of learning about yourself you will soon discover your true passion.

    Thanks for the post.

    Happy Thanksgiving.


  9. I love this article and it I agree with all Alexander has said. Number three is especially poignant as it speaks of the unmistakable power of determination. Virtually every person who beat the odds and achieved greatness can thank determination for their success. Achieving greatness is accepting that there may be a great many failures along the way. To the extremely determined, each failure provides an excess of lessons thereby making it a success.

  10. Alexander Graham Bell is a great man with perfect mind. i dont think there are auch people today!

  11. HT says:

    “What this power is I cannot say; all I know is that it exists and it becomes available only when a man is in that state of mind in which he knows exactly what he wants and is fully determined not to quit until he finds it.”

    What a profound idea that is.

  12. Kelly says:

    I noticed that you did not include any of the beliefs Mr. Graham Bell had about the Deaf community. What do you think of his feelings of not allowing Deaf people to marry eachother, not to allow them to learn ASL and instead to concentrate on Oralism. An activity that took vital time away from other forms of education. Time that could have been spent learning to read and write was spent trying to get a deaf person to be completely oral. Also, what about his recommendations that Deaf people should be discouraged from associating with eachother causing much lonliness amongst these people. You did  not mention his three point plan in achieving this in the other life lessons. I was curious why.

  13. Kelly says:

    Mr Gulamani, purhaps you might like to read a bit more about the wonderful Mr Alexander Graham Bell. you may see that these ideas did not apply to all men and woman. If you were a Deaf person, he would not have even given you the chance to discover these ideas.

  14. Kelly says:

    So if you are aware that you are a Deaf person , according to AGB, you cannot produce whatever you are thinking about. You cannot marry the person you love if they are also Deaf. You cannot choose Deaf friends. You cannot accept yourself ,but force yourself to become oral, in some cases wasting precious education time learning how to form your mouth to make an O sound instead of following your passion or gift for science. Good for you that you are not Deaf. No affirmations for you except , I must not be near anyone that I can talk with about this experience who might help me along this journey. I can’t go to a club of my peers or a support group. To me that is ignorant. Mr AGB’s mother was Deaf. He got half his DNA from her. Isn’t it a bit ignorant to think that wonderful , imaginative part that invented the telephone had nothing to do with her?

  15. Kelly says:

    But Mr. Graham Bell did not allow the same freedom for the Deaf community. In fact, he took this away from them. They could not chose anything because they had No choices thanks to him. Their families turned to him. They were afraid and foolishly thought because he had a deaf mother and wife that he would help,but really he was looking to wipe out the deaf gene. What he did was to isolate Deaf people. What could they chose to make themselves when they were isolated, had less education than others because so much time was spent trying to make them oral. Time that could have been spent teaching them skills, teaching them to read , write. These people were conditioned to think there is something wrong with you. Most never came in contact with other deaf people because of him. Excuse me , but didn’t Mr Adolph Hitler think that a man could make anything come true for himself as long as he was “the right kind of man”. Weren’t Deaf people amongst the first sent to the gas chamber? Think about it. Know your history.

  16. Kelly says:

    Maybe you should read a bit more about this great man you speak of . I suggest you read about his views on the Deaf.

  17. Nulln Void says:

    It almost seems dense to not respect Bell’s opinions on the deaf. What you are propounding is long-term reduced quality of life for everyone, deaf and non-deaf alike. What Bell appears to be proposing is inducing some degree of suffering “now” to achieve a more humane future. It is doubtful that Bell could foresee with any degree of optimism the routes that modern technology would traverse toward meeting the needs of the disabled. However, if a eugenics program were permissible (a very noble idea that took on evil connotations because of its affiliation with Nazism), one can think that the majority of humanity would benefit by not having to accommodate the disabled and by having fewer disabled people suffering (or not) as a course of their own disabilities.

  18. Tayla Jackson says:

    i didnt help me

  19. Jenny says:

    noooooooooo sucks d

  20. Jessica says:

    I think Bell is a wonderful person. He made things so much better.

  21. Pingback: 5 Lecciones de vida de Alexander Graham Bell | Asistencia Virtual Profesional

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