As I filed some articles from 2009 this weekend I re-read the story of Space-X and its CEO Elon Musk and found it particularly inspiring. One of his quotes kept ringing in my ears, "Optimism, pessimism, f*ck that; we're going to make it happen. As God is my bloody witness, I'm hell-bent on making it work." From 2006-2008, after four years of design and development, SpaceX tried and failed 3 times to launch the Falcon-1 rocket into orbit. Then in Sept 2008 it finally succeeded on the 4th try. In July 2009, on its 5th try, it became the first privately financed launch vehicle to boost a commercial payload (a Malaysian satellite) into orbit. These rockets have all been launched at a fraction of the cost of what it takes NASA to do it. Musk's vision is straightforward - to reduce the cost and increase the reliability of space access by a factor of ten in order to re-ignite humanity's efforts to explore and develop Space. It looks like his company has the cost part handled - and is now making great strides towards reliability. As a side note, Musk is also the founder and CEO of Tesla Motors, a leading electric car company.
As a co-founder of PayPal, Musk has tremendous resources at his disposal to finance these projects. However, while his money makes them possible, it doesn't make them successful. That comes from the attitude behind the quote above. I'd be willing to bet he had that attitude before he made his first dollar in life. Failure will do one of two things to you - toughen your resolve to try again with more intelligence or break you. Choosing the former is a "not-so-secret" secret to success, but that doesn't make it any easier when you're struggling. You've got to make a conscious choice to not let the failure stop you. There's a definite magic in being "hell-bent" on making something work.
- Pick some place in your life where you're not happy with the level of progress you're making
- Answer this question at least 5 times - "If I were "hell-bent" on making this work what would I do differently than I'm doing now?"
- Then finish this sentence at least 5 times - "If in 6 months I still haven't made progress, the reasons I'll give are..."
- Get to work doing what you wrote in #2 and ensuring what your wrote in #3 doesn't happen
- Repeat as necessary
Doug Sundheim is an organizational consultant and coach based in NYC -http://www.clarityconsulting.com