Share “Mystery”


BY ROBERT WILSON JR. Modified: November 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm •  Published: November 13, 2012

I love the story of how Edward Jenner, a country doctor in England, created the smallpox vaccine. In 1762, when he was 13, Edward overheard a milkmaid say, “I shall never have smallpox for I have had cowpox. I shall never have an ugly pockmarked face.”

It was a statement that would stay in the back of his mind for decades. He had heard all his life that milkmaids were in some mysterious way protected from smallpox. Perhaps this woman had the answer that would save the millions of people who died of smallpox every year. Thirty-three years later, he would find out.

In 1796, he drained fluid from the cowpox lesions on a milkmaid’s hands, then injected it into an eight year old boy. The boy only suffered a mild fever. Two months later, he injected the boy with smallpox. The boy did not get sick - he was protected. Jenner named his new procedure vaccination. 183 years later, smallpox was eradicated from the planet.

It doesn’t take a great mind to solve mysteries; average people do it all the time. There is probably a mystery you can solve that will improve your business. If you think about it, every product and service you purchase began as a solution to a problem. Whether it is through necessity or simple desire, people find new ways of doing things through creative thinking that was stimulated by a mystery. What mystery do you want to solve?

Robert Evans Wilson Jr. is a motivational speaker and humorist. He works with companies that want to be more competitive and with people who want to think like innovators. For more information on Robert's programs please visit