And Elon Takes #1 (but does it matter to him?)

Tom Stern

Tom Stern,


Opinion article from Tom Stern, a friend of Awesome Inc.

Elon Musk became the world’s richest person. And his reaction was: “How strange...” then “Well, back to work.”

That makes perfect sense to me.

The “How strange” comment tells me that he was not racing for this result. It wasn’t a motivator at all. It is just something that happened while he was at work. An unexpected alien intrusion into his day. And then the non-chalant, “well, back to work” tells me that his real passion is the work itself; what it does for people.

You might have also seen the “big fail” when the demonstration of the Tesla Cybertruck’s unbreakable windows resulted in — the window breaking — on stage during a high-profile event. You would think his reaction would be horror, or shame, or blustering to cover. But instead, he said, “Hmmm... interesting.”

That’s because he has completely understood and accepted that success teaches nothing. Failure is the great educator. We learn far more from failure than success will ever teach us. And wise people move immediately past disappointment and all of those emotions to analysis, looking for the lesson.

What amazes me is that the example is right there in plain sight. A few words like “interesting” and “back to work” tells us all we need to know to understand Elon Musk. And his example provides the “secret recipe” for entrepreneurial success and success in all business.