Between Tesla Motors and SpaceX, Elon Musk has become a legend. But to achieve his current enormous success, Musk had to ignore smart advice and pass under a multitude of storm clouds.
What many don’t realise is that Tesla Motors and SpaceX both narrowly escaped bankruptcy.
Tesla Motors nearly died due to delays and cost overruns, at some point it was written off by major car magazines.
Musk put his last $3 million into Tesla and began borrowing money from friends. He even sold his car [an expensive McLaren F1] to give Tesla its last breath before the tides finally turned.
Musk persevered because he felt that his success could be a global breakthrough for future technologies, he says: “I just thought, these are important things.
People felt that Musk is committing career suicide with his impossible crazy ideas.
During all these challenges, Musk was ridiculed, his ideas were labelled crazy, a waste of money, if there is ever company shares that you shouldn’t touch, they are Tesla shares.
As his ventures were struggling to take off, so were the criticisms coming in thick and fast.
So what did he do in reaction to this universal ridicule and disdain?
Nothing. He didn’t care, cared less.
It absolutely had zero effect on him that everyone thinks he is insane.
The word that psychologists use to describe that kind of person is: disagreeable.
Not disagreeable as a synonym for obnoxious.
Disagreeable is a term that psychologists use to describe people who do not require the approval of their peers to do what they think is correct.
To be innovative and successful, entrepreneurs must be disagreeable.
It is not enough to have great ideas, the discipline and focus to see them to fruition, entrepreneurs must have the strength, resolve and the courage to pursue their ideas even when the rest of the world thinks they are are crazy.
Time and time again if you look at stories of extraordinarily important entrepreneurs, there is almost always a moment when they are the only ones who believe in the value of what they are doing.
As humans beings, we are hard wired to want the approval of our peers, and so we avoid doing innovative projects that will attract criticism.
But someone like Musk has that unique ability to stand up in the face of mass ridicule and shrug.
He has the courage of his convictions.