What is the common ground between Elon Musk, Tony Hsieh, Richard Branson, John D. Rockefeller, and George Washington? It’s not their motives, Tony Hsieh named his memories ‘Delivering Happiness‘, John D. Rockefeller became one of the richest men in history. Elon Musk wants to make us humans an interplanetary species, George Washington was one of the founders of America. They all have different goals in life, but what makes them all alike?
As a red lining between the (auto)biographies of these different men is their focus. Each one of them found out what they wanted to achieve in life. At least, I think they know now/knew when they were building their businesses. I think they all knew that they wanted to achieve something great, something that would stay for longer than their own lifetimes. I’m not sure if they knew from the start what exactly they would achieve, but that each of them was convinced they were meant for greatness.
I also think that each one of them had a quality that is essential for entrepreneurs. They all had persistence. They were all willing to stick with their idea when they faced adversity. When Richard Branson was being harassed by British Airways he stood his ground. When Elon Musk didn’t have big contracts with NASA he put up all of his money to make SpaceX happen anyway. And when Tony Hsieh started Zappos he had to convince his investors to stay on when they were still making big losses.
A person in business needs to be very rational. You shouldn’t let your every emotion upheaval your business. What I do think is that the people who stand out in history have an idea that is uncommon. They have developed a hypothesis and will not let go of it. When their family and friends say the idea is crazy, they only become more determined to accomplish it.
In a way, they are being very irrational. They break the rules. They show the world that you can do something in a different way. Richard Branson showed us that flying can be fun. Tony Hsieh has taken customer service to another level. Elon Musk has taken space travel and shown the USA and Russia how you can do it better.
In my life, I’m not sure if I’ve come across the big idea. I recognize some of the characteristics of these great men in myself. I can only hope that I will also make a dent in the universe. What about you?