Fall In Love With Your Future 14.0: Look For the Reward in the Work, Not the Pay

Look For the Reward in the Work, Not the Pay

Fall In Love With Your Future 14.0


In 1952, John Hetrick was driving home with his son.  He’d just cleared a bend in the road when a small boulder appeared in the center of his lane.  He hammered the brakes and instinctively flung a protective arm in his son’s direction.  With some off-road skidding, they avoided disaster.  But the frightening incident stirred Hetrick’s creativity.

Was it possible—in the event of a crash—to have some cushiony protection inside a car to shield passengers from being hit by glass and metal?  As an industrial engineering technician, he went to work on his idea.  A year later, he’d created the world’s first air bag.  It was called a “safety cushion assembly for motor vehicles.”

Within forty years, 90% of American automobiles were manufactured with at least a driver’s side air bag.  John Hetrick, however, never made a penny from his invention.  His patent expired in 1970, four years before GM introduced airbags.

Hetrick feels he’s been rewarded anyway.  Since airbags became available, experts estimate the devices have saved thousands of people from death or serious injury.

Hetrick has the same belief that Thomas Edison had—that the monetary value of an invention is not its greatest reward.  The reward is in the creative work, the striving to bring a dream to reality, and in the benefit it brings others.


“The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.”   Ralph Waldo Emerson