In five hundred years, we may look back and say, “Elon Musk was the single most influential person of our entire century.” He has been able to do more in his 46 years than most of us could hope to do in ten lifetimes and yes, part of that is because Elon is incredibly smart and he works incredibly hard. …and we’re so hot up; we had just one computer so the website was up during the day and I was coding at night. …work hard, like, every waking hour.” That’s the thing I would say if your particular if you’re starting a company.
But working 100 hours a week still only puts you at two-and-a-half times as much as the average employee. And most geniuses do not make the international impact that Elon has. In fact, the man with the highest IQ in the world, Chris Langan, is a bouncer. So while smarts and work ethic are critical to Elon’s success, in order to impact the world, you simply have to be able to influence other people; there’s no way around it. That includes employees investors and the public at large and Elon Musk is unique here because on this channel, we can normally point to a leader’s ability to nail a public speech. For instance, take the way that Steve Jobs controls silence in this next clip. …and we believe that in this world; people can change it for the best. And that those people who are crazy enough to think they could change the world are the ones that actually do.
But Elon doesn’t have the same presentation ability as Jobs. While he definitely has moments of wit and humor, he often stumbles over his words or speaks without modulating his voice and he tends to use a lot of fillers like um and uh. …it’s not because I wanted to, it’s because I couldn’t hire anyone. Nobody good would join. Um, so… um, I ended up being that by default. None of this is meant as a criticism; it’s meant to point out how special it is that Elon is actually more famous and more sought out than most extroverted rock stars on the planet which is why, in this video, we’re going to break down what you can do to make that kind of impact on people so that you can achieve ten times more than your peers. And I will say though, brushing up on presentation skills is still going to be important for most people so I’m going to link to helpful videos now in the corner and in the description. First off, one thing that we just hav to acknowledge is how gifted and hardworking Elon is.
He was writing computer programs as a child and his work ethic has only improved since then. This next sentence is coming from a man with five children running three companies. I’m available 24/7 so as to help solve issues. Call me 3 a.m. or Sunday morning; I don’t care. But even all that brainpower and hard work isn’t enough to avoid failure. In fact, the higher that you set your sights, the more likely you are to fail repeatedly along the way which means an absolutely critical component of high achievement is dogged perseverance in the face of failure. and without a doubt Elon Musk has failed more spectacularly and at higher cost than anyone who will watch this video. Take SpaceX, the first three rockets at SpaceX didn’t work as they had planned.
He burned through 100 million dollars of his own money and was still going bankrupt. Or Tesla, when they IPO in 2010, Jim Cramer said this — You don’t want to own this stock; heck, you shouldn’t even rent the darn thing. I think Tesla will have the same trajectory as A123 which we told you would have a great first day pop when it came public but then it would be a dud afterwards. In 2012, nearly 10 years after Tesla was founded, Mitt Romney who was running for president told the nation that Tesla was a loser. …but don’t forget, you put 90 billion dollars — like 50 years worth of breaks — into into solar and wind, to Solyndra and Fisker and Tesla. I’ve a friend who said you don’t just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers. Have you ever spent five years of 100 hour weeks and all of your money on something and then still had it not work? Have you spent ten years on a project and then still been publicly ridiculed as a dud? And have you persevered in spite of all of that? Most of us have not and would not. So where does Elon’s perseverance come from? Well, it’s because business failure would not bother him nearly as much as a failure to do something challenging, worthwhile, and exciting.
…and there need to be reasons to get up in the morning. You know, life can’t just be about solving problems; otherwise, what’s the point? There’s got to be things that people find inspiringto and make life worth living. When Elon’s talking about problems here, he means the daily things that occupy most of us like getting by at work, earning more money, making sure that other people approve our decisions… Ask yourself — what has guided your decisions? Feeling financially comfortable, being widely respected, or doing something that inspires and excites you? There’s no wrong answers here but people who achieve at a high level almost always view not doing something impactful as a much bigger risk than financial or social failure. It’s not that they don’t care about those things; it’s that not feeling like they are doing deeply meaningful work is far worse to them which brings us to the second point — vision.
Because without a clear vision for the future, it’s really hard to care more about inspiration than paying your rent for instance or the criticism of your entire peer group. So here was Ellen’s vision for SpaceX. Um, if you consider two futures — one where we are forever confined to Earth until eventually something terrible happens or another future where we are out there on many planets or maybe even going beyond the solar system — I think that second version is incredibly exciting and inspiring… Interestingly, this wasn’t always the vision for SpaceX even though that was Elon’s end goal. He just wanted to inspire other people to pursue space travel by doing one smaller project on Mars that would spark their imaginations. I came up with this small philanthropic mission which would be to send a small green house to the surface of Mars which was called Mars Oasis. Upon landing the seeds with dehydrated nutrient gel, you hydrate it upon landing and you have this little greenhouse and then the money shot would be green plants against a red background.
Regardless of the specifics, a leader must be able to paint a picture of a desirable future; that’s what puts the “vision” in visionary and it’s how they persist through the inevitable setbacks and it’s how they encourage other people in their organization to do the same. That’s really what took us to the moon in the first place. We shall send to the moon, 240,000 miles away from the control station in Houston, a giant rocket more than 300 feet tall on an untried mission to an unknown celestial body… We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things not because they are easy but because they are hard. So if you want to achieve, you need a vision; but how do you get a vision if you don’t have one? Well, you start by exploring. You travel. You say yes to activities outside of your comfort zone and, very importantly in my opinion, you read because many of the most influential people in the world point back to a specific book that shaped their vision. Just listen to Elon talk about a book that he read as a kid.
…like the Foundation series from Asimov is… a really… like, one of the best ever. That book by the way is about a scientist who creates a foundation for reducing human suffering and expanding human consciousness across the galaxy. Does it sound familiar? Now, books hold a special place in my heart but your vision doesn’t have to come from reading. It can come from watching movies or listening to podcasts, playing sports, hiking in the woods, spending times with people that you love… What’s important is that you would expand your sphere of influence and frequently ask yourself, “If I had a magic Genie and anything were possible, what would I like to create?” That kind of question helps you break through the yeah-but-it-would-never-work filter that so many people have and of course not everything you dream up is going to wind up working out but almost every inspiring vision feels impossible in some way. Even mine for Charisma on Command felt like a total pipe dream just a year before it became my reality. So start with wild visions that get you excited and only later ask yourself if they’re feasible.
Elon actually uses a first principle analysis to determine this but that is beyond the scope of this video so look it up on Google if you’re curious for more because there is one more element that I want to touch on here that really takes Elon Musk to the next level in terms of what he’s able to achieve and how he’s able to influence others and it’s that his visions aren’t just about him.
There is no Musk Industries. Tesla is named after an inventor from the 1800’s. The rocket from SpaceX is named after the Millennium Falcon and the Boring Company, well, that’s just too silly play on words. The point is that Elon doesn’t seem as concerned with his name as Tony Stark who he’s often compared to. Even more unique, Elon Scholl isn’t just for his businesses to win — of course, he would like that — but listen to how Elon Musk talks about GM competing with Tesla. I think if GM comes to market with a compelling electric car, that’s great. The goal of Tesla from the beginning has been to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport so I think if GM or any other company comes out with compelling electric cars that’s good for the world then we’ll applaud them. In other words, Musk’s overarching vision for the future views humanity collectively. In the end, we’re all on the same team. That’s why in addition to just rooting for GM, he actually made Tesla’s patents public.
Now, obviously, Elon would like Tesla to succeed as a company but he really also wants humanity to have an economically viable electric car no matter who makes it happen. Contrast that with any number of other businesses, and I’m sure you can think of a few, that pursue profits at the expense of what would be best for society. So remember this — your vision can only be as inspiring as the amount of people that it positively impacts. Elon’s visions include all of humanity so he’s become a worldwide celebrity despite not being the world’s greatest public speaker. And if you want to make a bigger impact and inspire more people, you have to ask yourself,, “Who would it be fulfilling to help?” Your answer can be all of humanity or kids or your local community or whoever you want but if your aim is to inspire others and to achieve more, the vision just has to go beyond your own comfort; there’s no way around it.
So to recap back-to-front since that’s actually the way that this stuff gets implemented in your life, first, you have to clarify your values — who do you want to help? There’s nothing inherently wrong here with selfish motives but it does have to go beyond you in the same way because it needs to captivate the imaginations of other people if you’re going to achieve at this massive scale. Second, imagine an amazing future. Paint the picture because that’s what a vision is and if you need more inspiration I personally recommend reading more than just about anything. The initial vision for Charisma on Command came from The 4-Hour Workweek but I was also influenced by sci-fi novels like Ender’s Game that talk about strategy and leadership so you have to pursue your interests here. As Steve Jobs said in his famous commencement speech, “…and much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path.” So check out whatever piques your interest and pursue it deeply.
And if you are interested in reading more, I commend you but perhaps you don’t have that free-hands time because you’re travelling or driving, there is a link below where you can get a free audio book with a trial of Audible. Now, this video is not sponsored by Audible but I’ve worked with them in the past and we have that free book with a trial perk. I also think it’d just be awesome to have more people reading or listening to books; that’s just an amazing thing so if you want to check that out go ahead click the link below in the description to get a trial of Audible and a free book. Third, persevere and you need to fail a whole bunch. Now, this is gonna be much easier to do when you have identified something that you care about more than social approval or money; it’s actually nearly impossible when the reverse is true.
And I’ve to tell you, amongst the group of smaller entrepreneur that make up my friends, the one trait that separates those who actually live their dream from the ones who don’t is daily continuous perseverance over several years. If this is a topic you’re more interested in, let me know; I’m happy to do another video on that but my advice is more nuanced than “never give up;” you don’t really have time for it right here so I’m just gonna continue on.