Year To Success

Lesson 20: Inspiration from Elon Musk

Elon Reeve Musk (1971–) is a business magnate and investor.

Success is being a visionary. “There have to be reasons that you get up in the morning and you want to live. Why do you want to live? What's the point? What inspires you? What do you love about the future? If the future does not include being out there among the stars and being a multi-planet species, I find that incredibly depressing.”

Success is finding inspiration from others. When Musk was considering the Tesla electric car, he thought of the criticism Henry Ford received for his car. “When Henry Ford made cheap, reliable cars, people said, ‘Nah, what’s wrong with a horse?’ That was a huge bet he made, and it worked.”

Success is persistence. Musk believes in the importance of persistence, stating that “…you should not give up unless you are forced to give up.”

Success is knowing that sometimes “magic” is really just advanced technology. “If you go back a few hundred years, what we take for granted today would seem like magic-being able to talk to people over long distances, to transmit images, flying, accessing vast amounts of data like an oracle. These are all things that would have been considered magic a few hundred years ago.”

Success is sometimes starting small and growing from there. Elon started his entrepreneurial journey as a young child. At the age of 12, he sold a self-made video game called “Blastar” to a magazine for $500. In 1995, he founded a company called Zip2, that was later sold to Compaq Computer for $307 million.

Success is turning dreams into reality. Elon Musk, being a fan of space, wanted to privatize his own version of NASA. His company, SpaceX, which was founded in 2012, plans to send the first crew to Mars in 2024.

Success is being an optimist. Musk, with the exception of his view that artificial intelligence will destroy humanity, tends to be an optimist. “You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great, and that's what being a spacefaring civilization is all about.”