Elon Musk, AKA the real life Tony Stark, gave the Marshall Undergraduate Commencement Speech at my university about three weeks ago on May 16, 2014.
If you don’t know who Elon Musk is, he’s the co-founder of PayPal, CEO of SpaceX, and CEO of Tesla Motors. He is one of the biggest innovators in the world right now—perhaps even in all of history.
Needless to say, I was beyond stoked when I found out that he was going to be speaking at my university’s graduation this year and I couldn’t wait to hear what he would have to say.
But after his speech was over I couldn’t help but think, “That’s it?”
His secrets to success were the following:
- Work super hard.
- Attract great people.
- Focus on the things that actually make a difference.
- Don’t just follow the trend.
- Take risks.
Obviously he elaborated a little bit on each of these points, but this was basically all he said.
While these are all great points, he didn’t say a single thing I hadn’t heard before.
I was expecting something more. Something new and life-changing. Something that I would be able to go home and write an entire blog post about.
But instead I got the same advice I’ve heard over and over again. The only difference was that this time it was coming from a man who currently sits on top of two billion dollar companies.
Is achieving success really that simple?
We like to think that there is some sort of secret formula to success. That all successful people have found this secret and that is why they are successful.
We (subconsciously) tell ourselves that if only we could find that secret formula, then we too could be successful.
But the truth is that we all know what we have to do to succeed. We’ve heard it all before.
This is why, at first, I was disappointed with Musk’s speech.
Because there was no surprise secret. He didn’t say anything worth writing an entire blog post about.
And that’s when I realized, there was no surprise secret in his speech because THERE IS NO SECRET.
Deep down we know this is the truth.
But then why do we keep looking for “secrets”?
Because it gives us an excuse. It makes us feel better about not being able to achieve the things we want to achieve. It’s a rationalization for our shortcomings.
But I’m tired of making excuses. I’m tired of looking for what I already know.
I don’t want to be successful. I’m going to be successful.
You know how I know that? Because I’m taking action. I’m doing the things that I know I need to do to achieve the things that I want to achieve.
It really is that simple. It’s not easy, but it’s not complicated.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from Mr. Musk, it’s that nothing is impossible.
So what about you? Do you want to be successful, or are you going to be successful?
The choice is yours.
You can watch Elon Musk’s full commencement speech here:
Image Source: Flickr – Heisenberg Media