Diligence: Express delivery not available
Elon Musk is the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, chairman of Solar City, as well as a father of 5 boys. He aims for Earth to get a majority of its energy from renewable sources and for the human race to expand to Mars. In 2016, he was ranked 21st on the Forbes’ List of The World’s Most Powerful People. He was also named by Business Insider as one of the Top 10 Business Visionaries Creating Value for the World. Similar to how Einstein is synonymous with genius, his name is synonymous with innovation and entrepreneurship.
In a 2013 interview at the Computer History Museum, he talked about his schedule. He works at SpaceX (in southern California) on Monday. On Monday night, he flies to Tesla (in northern California) and spends Tuesday and Wednesday there. On Wednesday night, he flies back to SpaceX and spends Thursday and Friday there. For his weekends, he would either spend both days at Tesla or split them amongst his two companies.
In another 2013 interview on TED, Musk was asked how he could work on so different many projects — Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity, PayPal — at such ambitious scales while being so innovative. His answer: “I don’t know actually…I work a lot. I mean, a lot.”
During the commencement speech he gave at USC Marshall School of Business in 2014, the first piece of advice he gave was “you need to work super hard.” He further elaborated, “work hard, every waking hour…If you do simple math, if somebody else is working 50 hours a week and you’re working 100, you’ll get twice as much done in the course of a year.”
Everybody has desires. We want better jobs, better health, better relationships, better experiences, better life. In previous blog posts, we’ve looked at when certain desires are vain, and how reducing those desires rather than trying to attain them would make life better. But what about meritorious desires, such as improving relationships and offering yourself in service for a greater purpose? If your relationship with a loved one is not going well, improving the relationship can greatly improve your life and the life of that loved one. If you are seeking more fulfillment in life, offering yourself in service for a greater purpose (such as what Elon Musk does) is one way to do so. But what’s the most common problem? Laziness.
Want something? Order it online and it’ll arrive the next day. You don’t even need to leave your house. Hungry? Order food online and it’ll arrive within 30 minutes. You don’t even need to cook. Not feeling well? Buy some generic drugs to feel better right away. You don’t even need to get a good night’s sleep. Bored? Watch Netflix. Play games. Scroll through social media. You don’t even need to think about your day or the people around you. Whenever we feel any discomfort, we want it to go away instantly. We want to always feel good, and we hate enduring discomfort or pain. The paradox is that in order to achieve anything worthwhile, such as better relationships or a more fulfilling life, we need to work hard, and that often involves enduring through difficult times.
Relationships are messy. Trying to improve communication may take multiple failed attempts. That’s part of the process, just as falling is a part of the process in learning to ride a bike. Yet people will give up and never talk to “that annoying family member” again. That’s like giving up trying to learn how to ride a bike because you fell once.
People often want to leave an impact on those around them. Maybe that’s helping their company grow. Maybe that’s starting their own business. Maybe that’s growing a passion that’s currently just a side hobby. Doing these things require us to use our “spare” time differently. Instead of enjoying the dopamine from watching Netflix, playing video games, or posting on social media for likes, we need to work harder than before. We need to work longer hours, sleep less, and play less. After all, there’s only 24 hours in a day.
There is no shortcut and no luck to lasting fulfillment and quality relationships. The only true path is through diligence.