4 Life Lessons We Could All Learn from Elon Musk

Courtesy JD Lasica / FlickR Creative Commons

Courtesy JD Lasica / FlickR Creative Commons

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors and Space X, Elon Musk, recently said in an issue of Fortune Magazine:

“Dream big! Don’t focus on making money! Work for an idea that’s bigger than you are! Broaden your mind! Embrace thinking from outside disciplines! Expose yourself to the world’s most inspiring designs and designers! Make things as simple as they can be (and no simpler)! Immerse yourself in science and leading-edge technologies! Don’t be limited by what’s gone before! Play with radical outside-the-box future possibilities and keep playing until you find something really big that you believe in!

I didn’t post this quote so you could learn how to start a multi-billion dollar company or to understand the mechanics of electric cars. I posted it because, no matter where you are in your life, you have an opportunity to do better and to be better. It doesn’t matter if you’re starting a business venture, recovering from a breakup, trying to be happier, live a healthier life, they’re all the same. They all ask you to take ownership of you to see your part in it. Every line at this quote helps get you one step closer.

“Dream big! Don’t focus on making money!” Anytime that you’re aspiring for change, you have to think what you want your end result. What do you want the change to bring to the end? Not just what do you want to see, but how do you want to feel? What will the end result look like? How will it look, taste, feel, smell like when you get there? Dream about it and really understand what kind of change you’re looking for. That’s the dream big part, but the more important piece he says is “Don’t focus on making money.” This goes back to an idea I spoke about recently on thinking about the reality of what is rather than the image of what you’re hoping for. If you’re chasing the money, you will never have enough. If you’re looking to be happier, you will never be happy enough. If you’re looking to feel better, there will always be more to feel better about. This all leads to the next line…

“Work for an idea that’s bigger than you are!” This relates to a line I’ve spoken about previously, which is “Be goal-oriented but present focused.” Stay true to what it is that you want. Have a vision for yourself. Have goals and dreams. Put timelines on it. Break down those goals to things that are manageable. Break it down to something you can do every week or every day. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

“Embrace thinking from outside disciplines!” Anytime that you’re striving for change, you will meet resistance. This is true in any setting. You have to tear the muscle in order to rebuild it stronger. You have to be willing to hear and respect other people’s thoughts. Their ideas may make your ideas stronger. If you’re coming into therapy, be ready and willing to work towards the change you want to see. Stand up for what you want. If something isn’t working, say something. If something is, then say something. The more communication you have about the change, the better it will be.

“Expose yourself to the world’s most inspiring designs and designers.” This isn’t just about designers, it’s about finding the best of the best in the field you are in. When you’re creative juices are flowing and you are in the midst of change, look towards people who inspire you. Find people who are where you want to be and ask their advice. Seek their guidance. There are people out there who seem to have the life you want, so talk to them to see if that is true. How did they get there? What are their life philosophies? What works for you and what doesn’t? If they say something that doesn’t seem to fit your thought patterns, then sit with that. Can you incorporate any part of it or is it just something that doesn’t work for you? Just make sure you don’t write off everything someone says just because of one comment.

I have a question for you now, What inspires you? What gets your juices flowing? Is it a specific person or type of person? Is it a particular goal you have?

What inspires me is seeing people go against the grain to achieve great things. I love seeing people who have unwavering dreams and do all they can to get at it. Who fight when no one believes them. Who push when people push back. Who persist when people tell them to stand down. I admire these people because if it weren’t for them progress wouldn’t be made. You need visionaries. They can see things that don’t exist right now. You can only advance the field if you’re able to see something that isn’t a reality.

Whenever you start something new or are metaphorically moving up your life’s staircase, you get the most noise from the step you just came from. Expect that noise. Respect the sounds. Those creaks are just opinions based on other people’s experience. Some things may work for you and others may not. Do what you can and go for your goal! You won’t do it perfectly and no one expects you to. Just start and see where it takes you!

Related links:

Rubin Khoddam, Clinical Psychology PhD student at University of Southern California, founder of Psych Connection.

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Categories: Blogs by Rubin

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8 replies


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