One of my favourite books when I was in high school was Losing My Virginity, Richard Branson’s biography. It’s a thick, detailed journal but there’s a paragraph inside that has stuck with me over the years: “I have no secret. There are no rules to follow in business. I just work hard and, as I always have done, believe I can do it.”
A few months ago, I was watching an interview with Michael Bloomberg and the interviewer asked him what his secret is for becoming so successful. I can’t remember his words exactly, but it was something like “Look, I’m no smarter than you, him or anybody else. I just work harder than everyone I know. When I used to work for Salomon Brothers I’d be the first in the office at 7am. The only other person in the office with me that early was John Gutfreund [CEO], so we’d grab coffee together and talk. That’s how I got to grow within the company”.
Today, I read a short but amazing interview with Elon Musk in Wired. When asked “How do you maintain your optimism?”, he responded with “Optimism, pessimism, fuck that; we’re going to make it happen. As God is my bloody witness, I’m hell-bent on making it work.”
Successful people work hard, never give up and don’t take no for an answer. In other words, they are driven. Driven to achieve the impossible, go the extra mile, driven to succeed. I hope to be able to look back one day and say that I’ve worked harder than everybody I know. “Optimism, pessimism, fuck that; we’re going to make it happen.”