opinion expressed by entrepreneur Contributors are yours.
We can sleepwalk the achievements of Elon Musk: co-founder of monetary giant PayPal; Founder of Tesla Motors, the electric car company that changed the world; and founder of SpaceX, which focuses on space exploration and space travel, and has even sent NASA to the International Space Station on his spaceship.
We can also absent a stream of adjectives describing him and his leadership qualities: innovator, leader, genius, visionary, futurist, entrepreneur.
But can we explain why the CEO of SpaceX is like this? And can we not only quantify the things that make Musk such a successful person but also start incorporating him into our lives? What skills do they have that we can apply to our leadership style? It might be a little more difficult to do, but I think it is possible.
I’ve spent most of my professional life working with incredibly high performers, and though they all impress me with their talents, habits, and hard work ethic, they don’t quite reach Musk’s level. For some time now, I’ve been assessing Musk and outlined five different reasons why he found such success. I will talk about them here.
RELATED: 61 Books Elon Musk Thinks You Should Read
“no” means nothing
there is one Kissa Musk’s first wife, Justin Wilson, tells of them back in college when the two first met at Queen’s University. He got 98% on one of his tests. Being a perfectionist, he went to his professor and got him to convert his score to 100%. Now many of you will read this and think: why? What’s the point of doing this? I would have been happy with 98%. I feel the same way. But this small, simple detail is the defining one.
You see, the 2% separating Musk from his current score and perfection made him seem like a giant “no.” But he did not take no for an answer. Even if it was for 2%. That was 100% enough for him to put himself in a potentially awkward position, talking with his professor, and having difficult conversations that many people shy away from. In the end, he got his way. Why? Because “no” didn’t mean anything.
If we can overcome the initial fear of saying “no” and understand that no really means nothing, we’ll be better off for it. How many opportunities are lost because of our fear of asking?
RELATED: A German scientist predicted a man named ‘Elon’ would take humans to Mars
a singular, non-blinking focus
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who is originally from South Africa, has perfected the art of focusing. In fact, there was a time in Tesla Inc.’s infancy when Musk sleep under his desk and work 75 hours until a specific problem is solved and its goals are met.
During this he did not think of anything else. He didn’t get distracted by other, tedious tasks. The task he was focusing on was at hand. Now look at Tesla: It’s a rising giant that is changing the automotive world. It certainly wouldn’t be at the forefront without Mr. Musk in the blink of an eye.
This focus has allowed Musk to perfect the art of getting into a “state of flow,” which is when “a person is completely immersed in an activity,” per se. very good mind, “Immersion can be defined as a meditative state in which a person becomes completely absorbed and engrossed in his work.” This flow state is achieved only when the individual can perform without distraction from other, less-important tasks.
Think about your own work-life and the way you go about your day-to-day operations. How often do you get distracted? How often does a small thing grab your attention, making you less productive and less effective? How can you schedule your day so that you can complete one task, then move on to the next effectively, enthusiastically, and purposefully?
A work ethic that feeds on passion
Another factor that helps Musk come and stay in a state of flux is related to the quality of the work he is doing. Musk is a perfect case study for someone whose work ethic is driven by his passion. He loves what he is doing because he does what he loves. His passion for his work is so intense that it fuels late night shifts, spurring to work 80 hours, and, as we talked about in the previous section, sleeping under his desk.
The truth is that if there is passion – or passion – in the work we are doing, then work ceases to feel like work. It turns into a mission or a game, and we find ourselves enjoying what we are doing. Eighty-hour work weeks don’t seem like work weeks, because our passion is fueling us.
RELATED: When It Comes to Investing, Do You Think Like Warren Buffett or Elon Musk?
think big think small
Many of Musk’s great ideas come from small questions. How can we make California transit more convenient? a railroad. An electric railroad. An electric railroad that passes through a huge tunnel dug into the side of a mountain. The initial question is always small, then the answers get progressively bigger. Then he takes the answer of each question and tries to present it in the best possible way. Musk way.
So find a little solution. Give clear answers, then take your turn on those answers and follow them firmly. Big ideas always come from small thoughts.
healthy, limitless intensity
Musk is clearly intense. In fact, each of the four traits or fundamentals described above are only developed by people who have a certain amount of intensity. However, Musk does it in a healthy, creative way.
I’ve known too many people who try to bring a certain amount of intensity to their work and get burned, broken, or go too far. They push people out, spiral out of control, or end up performing dramatically poorly.
I believe that Musk’s extraordinary ability to maintain his intensity healthily comes down to his flow state mindset, his passion for his work, and his complete focus.
RELATED: Elon Musk Responds to a Tweeter’s Request Who Sent Him the Same Message 154 Times