Elon Musk, am I any different?
Have you ever felt miniscule even after completing yet another hard day’s of work? Have you felt like you’re striving for great big things and you’re working as hard as you possibly can? Reading the biography of Elon Musk will surely put these thoughts in perspective and make you feel like even lesser of a creature. Whilst hearing people achieve great things is highly motivating, doubting your skills and yourself as a human being creeps in. By this statement I mean by no means had I not liked the book nor do I mean it to be unhelpful in a self-help purpose. In fact I highly recommend you, my friend, to get your hands on this book. Let me shed a little more light about the book and my reflections according to Musk’s personality, career and actions. Rise from the abundant despair created by my introduction and hold on tight.
Skipping through Musk’s childhood straight to creation of Paypal or actually by Musk’s actions, the X, which later on merged with Paypal. Later on the following protocol was visible in the rollercoast ride of Tesla and SpaceX as well. What struck me hard was Musk’s way to perceive through thick and thin not only to make his dreams come true but to make them his way.
I keep finding myself constantly in situations of doubt, whether it be mutual decision making, regular conversation about business or maybe even meeting a prospect or a client. Doubt of people’s visions and actions and the reasoning behind them. While feeling no superior I question even their capability for fundamental rational thinking. Had Musk thought like me, would I be in the same state right now as he had been in his most noted business ventures? Not too surprisingly no, I surely would not. Why wouldn’t I?
For the sake of mystery and truly clarifying my point here, I won’t just spit the conclusion out. Let’s chop the tender meat of this concept into smaller chunks for easier understanding.
First difference in Musk’s to state opposed mine is the clarity of the vision. According to the biography, Musk had an ability to see very vividly for example even complex engineering plans, visually in his mind. Now how does this apply to his business ventures? Actually the ideas behind Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity were in Musk’s mind in his earlier years already, according to the biography at least. Of course those were just ideas back then, but Musk had a vision to make those ideas a reality.
I for an instance don’t have such visions in the earlier mentioned situations, where I find everyone to be rather primitive, but merely some sort of Saviour-dilemma. Dilemma of me being the righteous one thus having the right solutions. What makes having this dilemma to be not too narsistic is the fact that it fades away rather quickly. Following the fading of the Saviour-dilemma. I start doubting my thought’s superiority, good old Jekyll and Hyde action.
Having a vision for me is no different, having exactly same steps. First I’m all motivated and able to have a clear vision of my goal but then during the process start doubting it which leads to one of the two situations. Those situations are either to stop striving for the goal or to alter the goal itself. Having said that I don’t mean that I can’t stay on track to achieve my goals, it just takes alot of effort.
Difference number two, actions matter, but actions by who? The civil war of the mind which I have in setting a vision applies in many ways to my actions as well. In a situation where I have my vision set, I’ve placed my bets and I know the steps, still lies a problem, a fatal one. I know what I have to do but I start to question whether I’m the right person for those actions or not. Suddenly I’m inadequate for the actions that were a piece of cake just a while ago.
Musk on the other hand did not question his methods on any area of his ventures whether it be management, planning or promoting. His methods were far from healty and had no mercy, while he did lead by example. Working 23-hour days were a standard for Musk earlier in his career and thus everyone else should work long and hard as well. His methods were merciless and not meant for everyone, in fact only a few could keep up even for months. But as we can see, were they also prosperous. Musk’s personality is far from vanilla which mainly leads people to divide into two groups, those who adore him and those who hate him. Musk knows what he wants, he does what he thinks is right and does not budge of his methods.
Environment is the last major piece of the puzzle as I don’t really compare myself to Musk but rather the situation itself. Musk does not fear taking a risk, most likely he doesn’t even recognize a concept of a risk, merely a percentage of chance for failure. He also operates even better in a situation of immense pressure, according to the biography. By taking huge risks Musk therefore places himself in a position for better performance. Now how does my situation differ from this?
I feel like I too perform better under pressure. Now this is of course reflection of past situations I’ve been in, therefore possibly incorrect deduction. But as I mentioned earlier, environment is the key here. I’m not in an environment which would create a great pressure for me. I have all areas of my life quite balanced and the only pressure I can get is most likely almost clinically created by me. In a contrast to Musk’s way to be mostly homeless when his business ventures are making millions of dollars.
Vision, actions, environment and one’s relation to them is why I would not be in the same state right now as Musk had been in his most noted business ventures. So how did Elon Musk handle these three factors as many others and became a household name? One can only write so much in an essay, which is why you should get the book and find out the answers for yourself.