Elon Musk and Self-Motivation

Our Weekly 2 Minute Read

Edition 102 - July 14, 2020


“If you need inspiring words, don’t do it.” – Elon Musk

I once heard a wise man say that the minimum requirement to become an entrepreneur is self motivation. If you don’t have the ability to motivate yourself day in and day out, you will need to outsource it to an employer.

Same could be said about anyone who has a dream and is trying to achieve greatness.

Elon Musk was one person who had a dream.

Love him or hate him, one can’t help but to notice his incredible drive and determination.

He has a work ethic that you just have to respect and his actions show values of benefiting humanity over profit. Investors working with Elon sometimes have a tough time with that value.

When a man is willing to risk everything for his dreams to change the world for the benefit of human society, it’s inspirational.

In my opinion, he is a net positive for human society and it makes him one of my favorite entrepreneurs of all time.

An immigrant from South Africa, Elon made his first mark in the internet scene in the mid 1990s.

In 1998, Elon sold his first company Zip2, a company that provided and licensed online city guide software to newspapers, for $307 million dollars to Compaq. Earning Elon $22 million dollars at the age of 28.

He later founded a company called X.com which merged with Confinity Inc to create Paypal. In 2002, Paypal sold to Ebay for $1.5 billion dollars which earned Elon $180 millions dollars at 30 years old.

Where most would call it a day and sip Mai Tais on an island, Elon would go on to revolutionize the auto, energy and space industries.

By investing most of his net worth into SpaceX and Telsa with the dream making humans a multi-planetary species by advancing rocket technology and to help accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy with the start of automotive vehicles, Elon would embark on an incredible journey while taking a big risk.

This was a big risk that Elon was willing to make; it was something that was important to him. He realized that eventually, fossil fuels would run out and are not sustainable forms of energy. He understood we would need other sustainable forms of energy especially for transportation. Also, he understood that in order for humans to survive far out into the future, we would need to be able to travel to other planets in space. He also knew and predicted that if he would try to solve these problems, the probability of failure was extremely high. He said, “If something is important enough, then you should do it even if the probable outcome is failure.”

That is why no matter what Elon tweets or under delivers on production quotas at times that make his shareholders upset; I still respect and support the man. He truly is a person who is committed to greatness and truly cares about benefiting the human species.

If you are planning to start a company, Elon would say be prepared to have a high pain tolerance. For the first couple of months in a company, happiness will be high, but after that, for the next several years, there will be much pain. He describes it as eating glass and staring into the abyss.

SpaceX had their first three rockets fail and Telsa was on verge of bankruptcy, until the fourth rocket was a success and Telsa got its funding. It was hell.

So if you want to follow your dreams, you must have perseverance and a high level of self motivation that will keep you going even when times are tough. Tough times are when your character is exposed and quitters are discovered. How hard will you work to overcome the challenges that are ahead of you to see your dreams come to reality? Think about that when you embark on your journey.

-Mike Ye