Updated: Jul 2, 2020
In the era of constant communication and connection with each other via social media and telecommunication tools, we have managed to define our security in a sense of being, rather than doing.
In my most recent article here, I describe the importance of identifying and breaking our self-limiting beliefs to achieve desired outcomes and future state. This process requires us to visualize our goals and act as if we have already achieved that goal. Ironically, where majorities get stuck is within the realm of their passions and ideas.
In a recent conversation with one of my colleagues, he described, “I know that I would be a great writer if I was to start writing, but the problem is that my head is filled with too many ideas. I can’t manage to ever get them on paper.” Anyone with mild success in writing will tell you that simply having an idea is not enough. Immense work, dedication and discipline is required to compose thoughts into a story, let alone be a “great” writer.
Simple narratives of successful entrepreneurs and those who, by definition, have “made it,” lead us to the belief that their path to success was clear, simplistic, and devoid of struggles. Famously known as the founder of Tesla and PayPal, Elon Musk is now known to revolutionize the transportation industry. However, when embarking on his entrepreneurial journey, he toyed with various ideas before Tesla was materialized.
In a recent episode of Third Row Tesla Podcast, he states “I didn’t really want to be the CEO” of Tesla. He was inspired to build Tesla after test driving another electric car model called tzero, but his time capacity was already overextended at his newly found aerospace company called SpaceX. The model’s maker of Tzero, AC Propulsion, had no interest in bringing tzero to the market due to safety and compliance reasons. Musk, however, believed in this model and wanted to commercialize it. The founder of AC Propulsion introduced Musk to a start-up electric car company, called Tesla Motors, also looking to commercialize tzero. Musk decided to invest $6.3M in 2004 in Tesla Motors to pursue his passion for electric cars in his spare time.
The details of this story can be found on the link attached above, but it’s essential to focus on the fact that Elon Musk did not have an “aha” moment. He iteratively scaled his ambition as opportunities came to him and success was achieved. He wasn’t always passionate about electric cars or online payment systems. To get there, he worked his ass off, “over 80 hours” at SpaceX, while leading Tesla. Tesla struggled with failed prototypes, internal leadership drama, scrutiny from SEC and many other catastrophes that could not have been anticipated. Musk reportedly invested over 120 hours per week behind this passion, even after its success in the beginning.
“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” - Henry Ford
Elon Musk did not tweet about his idea. He did not post an aesthetic picture of his new business plan on Instagram story for endorsement from others. He did not update his LinkedIn profile to read “entrepreneur” before truly earning this title properly. He simply consulted people pertinent to his project and started hustling.
He did not focus on the fear that his idea may be a complete flop once it’s out in the market. Was the fear there? Probably, yes. Neither did he seek validation, recognition, and rewards from people to motivate his daily hard work. He was far too busy doing and acting to ponder on such distractions. Sure, frustrations and failures were inevitable, as it always is on road to success, he accepted it and continued to push through it.
On the path to achieving our goals, we must evaluate if we are built to deal with unplanned circumstances and roadblocks. Are we willing to surrender to things that are out of our control? Are we willing to give up the idea that we are entitled to stumble upon our dream world just because we have a passion for it? Most importantly, are we willing to do what no one else wants to do and handle achievements that we, sometimes, will get no credits for?
Truth is that you will always come across people who will intentionally bring you down. People who will do everything in their power to push you towards failure. On the other hand, there will be people who will have no interest in your success. And why should they? These people could care less about your revolutionary idea to change the world. There will also be people who will boost your ego on a daily basis. Ego loves attention and validation. This short-term attention is all your ego will need to start believing that you are a so-called entrepreneur, writer, or influencer.
The real test that will determine your ultimate fate is your ability to ignore both the praises and the criticism to align your daily tasks towards the bigger vision and purpose for yourself and a constant reminder of why you chose to walk on this journey in the first place. The most difficult challenge will be the realization that we only have minimal control over the rewards and recognition from our work. We can’t let this be the thing that motivates us.
We have to engrave the vision for yourself in every single part of our body, metaphorically, and run with it. It will not be easy, just as a marathon is not for normal people, but it will be invigorating. In order to see tangible results, we will have to start putting in the work to the best of your ability. After that, “let go or let god.”
So once again, are you built to handle success that you dream of everyday? Or will you forever reside in the fantasy world that you have constructed?