On the list of the top 100 wealthiest people in the United States, and a resume that will make you wonder how he can seriously do it all, Elon Musk is an inspiration to both aspiring and successful entrepreneurs. But to get yourself to the top, it takes a specific type of person, with much more than just a “big idea” and a dream.
Billionaires like Elon Musk have habits and qualities that have helped them get to where they are today, and here are some of them.
He seeks criticism
“You want to be extra rigorous about making the best possible thing you can. Find everything that’s wrong with it and fix it. Seek negative feedback, particularly from friends.” – Elon Musk
Criticism can straight up suck, especially when you’ve devoted your entire life, and everything you have towards your business or idea. But at the end of the day, criticism is usually a blessing in disguise that can have long-term benefits. Criticism helps you improve and see things from an outside perspective, which often times you can lose site of. This allows for you to continually improve and get better.
He never stops learning
In interviews, Musk has revealed that as a child he read upwards of ten hours a day, and not just children’s books. Musk read anything and everything he could get his hands on, even encyclopedias (those things that existed before Google). Reading is much more than a hobby; it expands your skill set, your knowledge, and makes you smarter.
The most important takeaway from Musk being a bookworm is to never stop learning. The world around us is constantly changing, and it’s impossible to know everything, so continue to educate yourself and keep an open mind to learning new things.
He loves to solve difficult problems
“Going from PayPal, I thought: ‘Well, what are some of the other problems that are likely to most affect the future of humanity?’ Not from the perspective, ‘What’s the best way to make money?” – Elon Musk
Elon Musk wanted to do something that would change the world, and today he is doing just that. Seek out problems that exist in the world or an industry, and find a way to solve them, and once you’ve found the solution, don’t stop looking for ways to solve problems and make the world a better place.
So many people get caught up and thinking about money. But many people lose sight of the work they are doing and the impact it has on the future. Musk didn’t start SpaceX because of the possibility of profit, he started it because he thought about the issues that could affect humanity down the road, and how he could solve those problems.
Failure is always an option
“Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.” – Elon Musk
What if we fail? But what if we were too afraid of failing we didn’t try? Failure is definitely something we all fear in life and business, but especially when you are taking the leap into the world of entrepreneurship. And although it’s not something we should let stop us, it’s definitely something to be considered.
Elon Musk set out with a contingency plan for SpaceX, which was that if they didn’t succeed by the time they’d spent $100 million, they would stop, and after two failed launches, and $60 million later, the third time was a charm.
So have a plan for failure and don’t rule it out. When you are setting out goals which will mark success, set out a plan for when to determine it’s time to stop and accept failure.
He's learned to depend on the right people
Elon Musk has been known to have a high standard of the people that get hired into any of his entrepreneurial ventures. He looks for the best people in the world and is big on the “hire carefully, fire fast” rule of thumb. He is determined to not grow so fast that you lose sight of the people you are bringing onboard to help you with the growth. In fact, when hiring for Tesla, he was even interviewing candidates himself to ensure he got the right fit.
If you are putting all your blood, sweat and tears into something, you want to make sure that you are putting that into the hands of people that are the best possible people for your business. Don’t settle for less, and seek out the best candidate to get the job done. This will set you up for success, instead of leaving you with a headache.
Elon Musk has been said to be a reincarnation of Steve Jobs, and his habits and choices in his career have led him to success on countless ventures. Even if you don’t aspire to be the next Elon Musk, habits and lessons can be taken from these topnotch entrepreneurs and applied to any level of business or entrepreneur. Remember, there was a point that many successful entrepreneurs were in the same place you may currently be in.
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About the Author
Lauren Marinigh is a Toronto-based online marketing and content development professional, who is completely addicted to traveling, puppies, and GIFs.