Ten Commandments of an Inventor

Lately I have been working with Peter Florjančič, a 98 years old Slovene inventor, who invented many things we still use on a daily basis. Besides many experiences from his profession, Peter’s is also defined by the many struggles of life with which he dealt in the past. In our conversations he shared much of his wisdom with me. He shared many tips about being an inventor, entrepreneurship and success. His tips are simple and can be used in life on general.

Here are ten tips of a genius who helped to change the world, each accompanied with a short paragraph to put them in context.

»Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.« Leonardo da Vinci

Peter in his home office

Man must always remain active

“I would not be where I am without my thoughts and my work. People must always keep working. When you stop being active it is over. If I would do nothing in my old age, I would not be here today.”

Man must always keep his mind and body active and busy. Otherwise they grow lazy and become weak.

Everything is an invention

“Everything is an invention, not only material things. Our words and actions also. If you lie it is also an invention. I used to know one of the greatest inventors in the world: A man who for more than 10 years didn’t tell his wife that he had a child with their cook. This is also an invention!”

In inventing as in life, there is no limits what we can do. Only limit is our own imagination.

Be observant

“If you want to invent something, if you want to get an idea, you only need to observe your surroundings. That is how I invented a perfume atomiser: I saw women pulling big pumps out of their purses and I asked myself how I can improve that. You can still find thousands of new inventions in the woman’s purse.”

Invention must serve people, otherwise it’s not useful. What people need it’s easiest to determine by observing them. Observing our surroundings is also important in life, for it is the only way to see the many opportunities it brings us.

Believe in yourself

You must always believe in yourself and your idea. It is the only way to draw others to your project. If you are ashamed of your work, no one will believe you. Be proud of your accomplishments but be careful not to be envious, as that will only harm you.

“Let the future tell the truth, and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine.” Nikola Tesla

Inventor focusing on his work

Focus on the future

If you keep looking back, you will never get new ideas. Focus on the future and look for new ideas. Inventor is inventing for the future and we must all look forward. We can not relive the past, but we can shape our future with the actions of the present.

Be persistent

It is important to get a good idea, but inventor is defined by persistence and hard work. You might now always succeed, but try again. There will be obstacles, but if you believe in your idea and yourself, keep going and you will succeed.

Watch out for your ideas

When you get an idea, write it down. Peter always wrote down his ideas on a napkin if he didn’t have his notebook with him. As quick as you get an idea, you can lose it. It is also necessary to protect your ideas, so they don’t get stolen. You deserve to get recognition and payment for your ideas and your work

Test and improve

When you have an idea or invention, make a prototype. Test it, to see how it works. Fix it, improve it and test it again. Keep going until it is ready. First prototype does not need to be perfect, but it might be good enough for presentation.

This concept is also important in life. When you have an idea, test it. What do people think about it? What can I improve? This is how we get a product that will satisfy wider audience.

Explaining how he invented a new kind of lighter

Take it or leave it

When you wish to sell your invention, make a prototype first. Then go to the potential buyer and say: This is what I have. Will you take it or not?

If you have only and idea, it is hard for people to picture your idea in their head. But if you have a prototype, they actually see the product and it is easier for them to decide. And with sales it is important to convince the buyer as fast as possible.


While working you also need to relax and enjoy. Best ideas come when you are relaxed and are not looking for them. In life it is also important to do what you like doing. Then you enjoy in your work and your results are good.

Take time for yourself, away from the work and recharge your batteries. Time for rest is equally important as work. This is how you stay focused and full of energy. And you need both for effective and successful work.

»Creativity is intelligence having fun.« Albert Einstein

Enjoy in the ride of life – photo: Sabina Mišmaš

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