We can rattle off Elon Musk’s accomplishments in our sleep. He is the co-founder of monetary giant PayPal; founder of Tesla, the electric car company that is literally changing the world; and founder of SpaceX, the company that is trying to take us out of this world and colonize another. But why is Elon Musk so successful? It all comes down to these 5 key Elon Musk personality traits […]
NOTES: 5 Key Elon Musk Personality Traits Driving His Success
There are various adjectives that describes Elon Musk: innovator, leader, genius, visionary, futurist, and entrepreneur. Outlined below are five different reasons or personality traits that may just explain why he’s so successful.
“No” means nothing
He wouldn’t take no for an answer and would rather have a hard conversation that many people shy away from.
A singular, unblinking focus
Musk has perfected the art of remaining focused, unblinkingly on the task at hand.
This focus has allowed him to perfect the art of getting into a “flow state,” the mental state in which a person performing some activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement and enjoyment in the process of the activity. This flow state is only achieved when the person can perform undistracted by other, less-significant tasks.
Work ethic that feeds on passion
Musk’s work is fueled by passion; he loves what he’s doing, because he does what he loves, and work therefore stops feeling like work. It turns into a mission or game.
Thinking big by thinking small
Many of Musk’s grand ideas come from small questions. He find a small idea, give the obvious answers, then put a spin on those answers and pursue them with tenacity.
Healthy, unflinching intensity
Musk is obviously intense. Each of the four traits described above are best cultivated by those who have a certain amount of intensity; in a healthy, constructive way and not the one that leads to burnout. Musk’s ability to healthfully maintain his intensity comes because of his flow state mindset, his passion for his work and his absolute focus.
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A wealth of research shows that self-criticism often backfires – badly. Besides increasing our unhappiness and stress levels, it can increase procrastination and makes us even less able to achieve our goals in the future.
Instead of chastising ourselves, we should practice self-compassion. This is also one of 7 tips on how to improve your Work-life Balance. And it means that we should give greater forgiveness for our mistakes, and make a deliberate effort to take care of ourselves throughout times of disappointment or embarrassment. With mindfulness, you focus on your breath while noticing all the muscles and body parts involved in breathing.
“Self-esteem is contingent on success and people liking you, so it is not very stable. You could have it on a good day but lose it on a bad day.”Kristin Neff
Measure how much you are cultivating self-compassion. On a scale of 1 (almost never) to 5 (almost always), rate yourself on the statements below:
- I try to be loving toward myself when I’m feeling emotional pain
- I try to see my failings as part of the human condition
- When something painful happens, I try to take a balanced view of the situation
- I’m disapproving and judgmental about my own flaws and inadequacies
- When I think about my inadequacies, it tends to make me feel more separate and cut off from the rest of the world
- When I’m feeling down, I tend to obsess and fixate on everything that’s wrong
The more you agree with the first set of statements, and the less you agree with the second set of statements, the higher your self-compassion.
For many of us, the struggles of isolation, remote working and caring for the people we love have provided the perfect breeding ground for self-criticism and doubt. While we cannot eliminate those stresses, we can at least change the ways we view ourselves, giving us the resilience to face the challenges head on.
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Many successful companies were born in people’s dorm rooms, garages, and basements. So what is it about success start-off in basements, garages, and bedrooms? Possibly nothing.
Perhaps it is just normal for new or young entrepreneurs with big ideas and little money to spend, to just start from where they are and what they have. Not just wisdom, but prudence that comes out of constraints, and determination that some expenses (including a proper office space) should be out of the question in the early stages of building a business.
Amazon Online Book Store – Jeff Bezos (Home Garage)
Amazon began as an online book store in Jeff Bezos’ home garage. In 1994, Jeff Bezos decided to take advantage of the internet’s potential. He quit his New York hedge fund job and drove to Bellevue, Washington, where he rented a house.
Bezos spent a year programming the site which initially sold books out of his garage, and in July 1995, success start-off for Jeff and Amazon.com went live.
In a 1998 interview , Bezos said, “I know why people move out of garages. It’s not because they ran out of room. It’s because they ran out of electric power. They have so many computers in the garage that circuit breakers kept flipping … we couldn’t plug in a vacuum cleaner, or a hair dryer anymore in the house.”
“It’s not where you start but where you finish that counts.”Zig Ziglar
Facebook Idea – Mark Zuckerberg’s (Harvard Freshman Dorm Room)
Mark Zuckerberg created a website called Facemash in 2003 while studying at Harvard. The site let students judge other people’s levels of attractiveness, but was quickly taken down after two days.
Keeping the momentum going, a year later, Zuckerberg and his friends Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes created The Facebook. Thereafter, success start-off and the social networking site quickly spread to colleges across the country.
In the years since, Facebook has come under attack over privacy concerns. While testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Commerce Committee during the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018, Zuckerberg often cited his humble roots, explaining , “The history of how we got here is we started off in my dorm room with not a lot of resources.”
“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”Albert Einstein
Google – Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Susan Wojcicki’s Garage)
According to a Business Insider profile of Susan Wojcicki, in 1998, Wojcicki and her husband, Dennis Troper, bought a four-bedroom home in Menlo Park, California, and rented the garage out to two Stanford doctoral students to help pay their mortgage.
The students happened to be Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who were working on their new company, Google. Wojcicki eventually became the 16th employee at Google, which later moved to an office space in 1999.
In 2019, Page and Brin stepped down from the company, writing, “We could not have imagined, back in 1998 when we moved our servers from a dorm room to a garage, the journey that would follow.”
“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people”Steve Jobs