Envy Persistence, Not Success

When you think of entrepreneurs, what images immediately pop up in your mind?

Do you see bold, courageous, fearless individuals, confidently moving forward, with little to no doubt that success is just a matter of time?

Or, do you see someone swimming in a sea of doubts, uncertain if they will be able to make payroll, or up all night worried about an impending deadline that could make or break their company?

Consider Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors.

At the end of 2008, Musk and all of his companies were on the verge of bankruptcy.

His Falcon 1 rocket had failed to reach orbit for the third time in early August 2008.

He had to scramble to secure outside financing just to get him through 2008.

He was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, going through a divorce, and everything hinged on a fourth Falcon 1 rocket launch on September 28 2008.

If it too failed, SpaceX was done and Elon Musk would have lost all of the $100 million he had invested in SpaceX.

The rocket didn’t fail.

It reached orbit.

He succeeded.

But the intense emotional stress was almost unbearable and nearly broke him mentally.

Consider Steve Jobs.

By the end of 1994, things were looking bleak. He was five years removed as Apple’s CEO. 

His $10 million Pixar investment had run up another $50 million in debt.

Pixar was burning through $1 million a year.

His personal fortune was dropping like a rock from $107 million in 1985 to $24 million in 1994.

And, worse, between NeXT and Pixar, they would need an additional $60 million a year just to stay in business.

Everything seemed to come crashing down all in one year.

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