When students complain about deadlines, seek extensions, or miss due dates, I ask them if they have ever heard of Elisha Gray. Inevitably they stare at me blankly or say, “No.”

“How about Alexander Graham Bell? Ever heard of him?”  Most will say, “Sure, he invented the telephone.”

Then I tell them this anecdote: At two in the afternoon on February 14, 1876, inventor Elisha Gray applied for a patent on a device he had recently invented. But Gray’s patent was rejected. You see, just two hours earlier Alexander Graham Bell had applied for and been awarded a patent for a similar invention: the telephone.

Had Elisha Gray been just two hours earlier, today we might be making calls via “Ma Gray.” It pays to get important work done early!

–Skip Downing, Facilitator, On Course Workshop, Skip@OnCourseWorkshop.com