Sometimes we all get stumped. Even the great scientist Isaac Newton once met an opponent that almost bested him.
In 1695, it was discovered that a massive amount of phony currency was in circulation in England. The Royal Mint couldn’t solve the crime, so they turned to Isaac Newton for help. Newton easily conquered the counterfeiters, with the exception of one: William Chaloner.
Chaloner was major force in the underworld, and he was quite clever with his counterfeiting techniques. He was able to produce faces on the counterfeit coins that were almost as sharp as the originals, making his copies very hard to detect.
Chaloner’s counterfeit coins and his impressive intellect allowed him to pass as a wealthy gentleman, which infuriated Isaac Newton. Several attempts by Newton to prove Chaloner was a counterfeiter backfired, and the counterfeiter accused Newton of trying to damage the reputation of an innocent man.
What Chaloner didn’t realize is you don’t mess with Isaac Newton. As reported in the most recent issue of Mental Floss magazine, Newton went undercover and over a two-year period he amassed enough evidence to prove Chaloner was guilty.
Newton overcame this challenge with thoughtful determination. Instead of giving up, he kept working on a better way to solve the problem.
While we may never get called by the Royal Mint to solve a crime, we do “bump” against challenges from time to time that put us on our heels. The question isn’t how many times we get knocked down by the challenge. The true test is how many times we pick ourselves back up, and how many times we work our tail off to find a solution. Maybe the real lesson is you don’t mess with a determined person.