Elon Musk Is Different

I suppose most people know he is different, but they may have gotten caught up in the aura. It isn’t about bitcoins, or smoking pot with Joe Rogan, or opening the car plant in California when the state government demanded he should not.

It is about something we can all do once we accept it as possible.

He doesn’t excuse himself

He gets things done, even when there is a good excuse to not be able to do so. His ego is not harmed if his next step fails. He doesn’t need an excuse.

Looking at third quarter sales for Tesla we find they were up 73% from the same period in 2020. Could be good or not. What did the others do?GM was down 33% and Ford down 27%.

Ford and GM invested in an excuse. Worldwide supply chains were a disaster and chips were unavailable. No one can blame us.

Musk invested in a solution instead.

What they did at Tesla.

From an article at INC

“Achieving the output that we did achieve was only due to an immense effort from people within Tesla,” he said. “We were able to substitute alternative chips. And then write the firmware in a matter of weeks. It’s not just a matter of swapping out a chip. You also have to rewrite the software. It was an incredibly intense effort of finding new chips, writing new firmware, integrating with the vehicle, and testing in order to maintain production.”

What is the lesson?

You can buy a solution or you can buy the excuse. Excuses are the way to forgive yourself in advance. Solutions are hard work, risky, and very fulfilling when they work out.

“Sometimes it is not good enough to do your best; you have to do what’s required”   Winston Churchill

Organizations like GM and Ford have complex management structures and slow-moving culture. Tesla is not so inhibited. In ponderous organizations, including governments, easily understood excuses are often the way to go. Unfortunately they are not the best way to go.

It could be that Elon Musk was always a doer and it comes naturally to him. I suspect he subscribes to Yoda’s admonition. “Do or do not. There is no try.”  That’s a useful challenge for us all. Achievers tend to pay no attention to the idea that something “cannot be done.”

People like Musk undervalue excuses and rise to challenges.

When he decided to move ahead with chips they could get and reprogram, Elon was probably wearing a NIKE t-shirt like this one

Focus on what you can do and not on what you cannot do.

You can make things happen or you can let things happen. Excuses are for others.


I help people have more retirement income and larger, more liquid estates.

Call in Canada 705-927-4770, or email don@moneyfyi.com

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