Elon Musk And Why Passion Matters

It’s expected that you need to go “all-in” when launching a business — long hours, stress, overcoming obstacles and uphill battles — but there comes a point when no amount of caffeine and luck can help you push through. No matter how earth-shattering your idea is and how flawlessly you execute, there will undoubtedly be several occasions where things will just simply go wrong. And not just kind of wrong– I’m talking horribly, gut-wrenchingly wrong, where your fight-or-flight instincts will try to convince you you’re about to actually die.

And when you hit this point — the metaphorical brick wall — which everyone hits eventually, there’s a decision to make: shut down or move forward. There is always a path forward, it just depends how creative you want to get, and how creative you get is usually a function of how bad you want it. But even when there is a path forward, the tasks can seem so daunting that no amount of money, no disappointed investor or no upset customer can fuel your efforts– at this point, passion is the only thing that can help you push through.

Of course passion alone is not enough — we only hear about the passionate success stories, but we never hear about the people who gave it their all and still failed. But not many people became successful without passion.

Elon Musk’s Passion For Space Travel

Take Elon Musk, for example. The man is as close to the definition of entrepreneurial success as one can get– he founded an internet publishing company and sold it for $307 million at the age of 28, which he used part of the proceeds to fund his next venture not even one month later. That venture eventually became Paypal, which he later sold for $1.5 billion. From those proceeds, he then started SpaceX, Tesla Motors and SolarCity.

Not only did he start SpaceX, Tesla Motors and SolarCity after he already had enough wealth to last multiple generations, but he actually doubled down and invested nearly everything into these three new ventures in order to make them a reality. He says that after he made these investments to keep these companies alive, he actually had to borrow money to pay rent and also had to give the most inspirational speech of his life in order to keep the dreams alive.

Why would he do all this?

He has stated numerous times that two of his lifelong goals are to help mankind hedge our risks by becoming a multi-planetary species (SpaceX), and to help develop renewable energy sources (Tesla and SolarCity). Hefty goals, but goals he seems to believe passionately in.

Case in point, I’ll just leave you with this interview on 60 Minutes that almost brought him to tears–

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Stephen Steinberg

Stephen Steinberg

Stephen is the Founder of Vapor Fresh, a line of safer plant based cleaning products for the sports & fitness industry, as well as Founder of Animate Yerba Mate, a brand bringing quality unsmoked organic Yerba Mate teas to the USA.