Capt. Phil Harris and Thomas Edison: Success = 10% inspiration / 90% perspiration

Captain Phil Harris and hte Cornelia
Captain Phil Harris and hte Cornelia

FORT WORTH, Tx, April 13, 2010 — Thomas Edison said that success was 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. Many agree that truer words were never spoken. But this does not mean that the percentage amounts are a reflection of the importance of each element.

Where would any of us be without inspiration? It can come out of anywhere and from anyone when you least expect it.

I was new to the Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch when I read an article about Captain Phil Harris. Motor Trend magazine featured the Skipper covering his life from the time he was a small child onward. Wow! I was impressed to say the least.

The man started fishing with his father at seven years old when his Mother died. He started driving at ten and got busted for it at twelve – Phil was the original latch-key kid.

On his own at sixteen, then at seventeen he was voted least likely to succeed by a high school counselor. Not long after that Phil started fishing and made $135,000 in a month. The counselor’s home happened to be for sale at the same time.

The price was $45,000 so Phil got it in cash and put it in a paper bag. He then went to the counselor’s home, banged the bag of money onto the counter and told her and her husband to get out.

Of course they wouldn’t sell to him, but what guts! I had never heard of such a thing before. It was out of my realm of experience. Wow!

I did, however, identify with a lot of what was not written there.

I know what it took for Phil to go from troubled kid to a successful fisherman. Not specifics, of course – but what it takes inside to keep going.

On the surface he and I had nothing in common. But I do understand the many times he had to choose to not give up. Been there, done that.

Phil had to select the right path – often after taking the wrong one ten times in a row. I know I did. But eventually he made enough right choices to see a real future ahead.

The man had to do it all himself. I’m sure there was support, but digging oneself from a pit like this is done solo. Hand over hand, foot over foot. Lots of dirt in the face too.

And all this speaks well of what Phil chose to be made of. It’s also why he became the successful crab fisherman and much admired man now missed by many.

How does this inspire me? How can it not? With all that was against him Phil Harris became a success. The Captain succeeded because he realized only he would decide how his life turned out.

To realize this about one’s life is very liberating. It’s like being a kid in a candy store with a zillion choices. It’s also an opportunity for one to discover hidden passions within. I discovered that my enjoyment of writing is indeed a passion.

Once I learned about the Captain I figured that if he did it, why can’t I? Now I don’t expect or want celebrity from my writing, and I believe I will be a success. But only if I make it happen.

Before all this I would have never imagined the opportunities I’ve been given.

The description of my column says, “Claire, once lacking in self-esteem and had no confidence to speak of, now leaves fear in the dust and looks forward to the future…”

And I do. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next. It doesn’t scare me anymore.

I’ve had other inspirations, both people and things on my journey besides the good Captain. But in honor of tonight’s season premier of Deadliest Catch, I wanted to pay tribute to a fabulous man.

Thanks Captain Phil.

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Claire Hickey
Claire has held a Texas Cosmetology License, Certification in Surgical Technology and has decorated cakes professionally. She believes that life is a banquet to be experienced and wants to learn and do as much as possible while she’s here. This Stay @ Home Mom has always loved to write and thanks to the Communities Digital News has got her chance. Her curiosity and writing lead her to create her column based on “garbage in garbage out” theory to provide interesting and thought provoking pieces that enrich her readers. A proud member of the Greater Fort Worth Writer’s Group she is currently working on her first novel.