Elon Musk is changing the world. As CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, the multibillionaire is turning the future into the present, engineering technologies that will drastically improve life on (or off) earth. It’s easy to focus on his successes, but it’s the risks Musk has taken and the failures he’s dealt with that make him a real live superhero. (He was the inspiration behind Tony Stark in the “Iron Man” films, after all.)
It’s hard to believe Musk originally thought the sleek, sexy Tesla Model S that was named best-selling electric car in the world in 2016 would be a failure. “I don’t want to give the impression that I thought Tesla would be successful from the beginning,” said Musk in an interview with “60 Minutes.” “I thought we’d maybe have a 10 to 20 percent chance of success.”
Why aim for greatness if all signs point to defeat? “If something’s important enough, you should try, even if the probable outcome is failure,” says Musk, whose dream is to make humanity a multiplanetary species by colonizing Mars as soon as 2024. Musk’s plans for SpaceX are encompassed by big ideas met with increased criticism and a greater potential for failure. Yet he continues on, learning from his mistakes and thinking of new approaches that could lead to success.
Take a page from Elon Musk’s playbook. Dare to try new things at your events this year. Seek new ambitions in your career and take risks. Fail, pick yourself up and try again—when you truly believe in something, it’s well worth the fight.