Elon Musk, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO, choked up several times in a recent interview with the New York Times, while detailing his excruciating year. The stress of meeting production goals, sleeping at the office, and dealing with investors has, in his words, “made it the most difficult and painful year” of his career.
“There were times when I didn’t leave the factory for three or four days – days when I didn’t go outside,” Musk told the Times. “This has come at the expense of seeing my kids and friends.” He also worked 24-hours straight at Tesla’s offices on his 47thbirthday.
I’d like to share one word with Mr. Musk, and the millions of people in our world who can relate to this situation and are miserable: CHOICE. While there are many things in life that we cannot control, every human being is granted free will – the ability to CHOOSE between different possible courses of action in any given situation.
You may be thinking “Jill, if I am kidnapped and chained in a box in a basement, my free will is instantly taken away.” But that is not true. You still have the ability to CHOOSE how you react, your attitude, and your mindset. We are always in a position to decide which path to take in life. However, many people make choices without thinking through the consequences or without putting their needs first – they CHOOSE to make others happy at their own expense.
While this may sound gallant and admirable, it’s not. I’m a firm believer that in the most unselfish way possible, everyone needs to make decisions based on what is going to make them happy. If the New York Times interview had not been conducted, we’d all be thinking that Elon Musk has it all: looks, charisma, money, power, self-confidence, notoriety, and brains, just to name a few.
The truth? Mr. Musk is hurting and in pain because he did not make choices that would make him happy, like seeing his kids and friends. He made choices to make investors and customers happy, at his own expense, and is now paying the price.
WHAT CAN I DO? We are all the best version of ourselves when we are happy, healthy, whole, and balanced. Like the flight attendant says, you have to put your oxygen mask on and breathe first before assisting others. If you suffer from Elon Musk Syndrome, stop and pause. You are not going to get extra credit in Heaven for being a savior on Earth at your own expense. CHOOSE a different path – one that enables your needs to be filled first. The Universe wants you to live in abundance, joy, and favor. Obey and you will be rewarded.
Jill Christensen is an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. She is a Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, authored the best-selling book, If Not You, Who?, and works with the best and brightest global leaders to improve productivity and retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth. Jill can be reached at +1.303.999.9224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.