Have you ever worked for someone who was so driven to accomplish what he wanted, he didn’t care who might get hurt – physically or otherwise – in the process?
Have you ever dated someone that was so driven with ambition of one sort or another, that you were an afterthought to him?
As difficult as these people are to be around, we need them.
They usually accomplish great things. We need to be a society that allows them to do their thing, as obnoxious as they may be, New York Times columnist David Brooks says in an October 2012 column.
Prosperity is often driven by small enclaves of extraordinary individuals that build new industries, and amass large fortunes, says Brooks. These folks often are unpleasant to be around.
He uses Elon Musk as an example. Musk, 41, grew up in South Africa, migrated to Canada at 15, worked on farms and at a lumber mill until going to Queens University in Ontario. He transferred to the University of Pennsylvania to major in physics and economics.
He believes the Internet, sustainable energy and the space program will be the future prosperity drivers. He dropped out of Stanford’s graduate physics program to start Zip2, an Internet map and directory company. He sold that to Compaq for more than $300 billion.
He helped create PayPal, then SpaceX, a space exploration company. He also helped create Telsa, an electric car company, SolarCity, a solar power company and Everdream, a data-center software firm.
He’s found success in everything he does, but, though many employees love him, there has been at least one blog set up to catalog his mistreatment of those he deems mediocre, Brooks says.
He’s been through two marriages, and one of his ex-wifes took him to task brutally in an article in Marie Claire, according to Brooks.
The lesson here is that we need people who think big, who are brutally focused on their visions and don’t stop until they accomplish them. The question is: do they have to be so, well, obnoxious, if they don’t think you are as good as they are? Is all that success really worth being a difficult husband or employer? Does a path to success have to be completely non-stop, or involve trampling others in the process? Many say it’s not the success that’s most rewarding, it’s the journey. And, it’s the people you meet, and help, along the way that matter.
Are you a person who prefers the leisurely drive or the quick flight? Would you rather take a walk through the park or the ride around the block to a destination? Is money, power and wealth your be all and end all? Are you getting richer, at the expense or off the backs of others, just because you can, and you think you are entitled to? Are the folks who may have tried to help you on the way insignificant?
It takes many kinds of people to make a world. It takes many kinds to create a world in which we all benefit. It’s great to be bottom-line focused, but you are probably missing something if you pay no attention of how you got there, whom you helped along the way and whom you’ve hurt.
If you are a driven person, take stock of who you really are. Choose relationships carefully. It would be wrong to have the person who loves you the most be unable to hang with you. A few pleasant stops on the way to the top never hurt anyone – and may have helped many.
Ideally, driven people also are nice people. They don’t expect everyone to be like them, and they love those near them for exactly who they are. They work around the “stops” with pleasure, even if they get to the top later than they’d planned. If you are that kind of person, or would like to be, visit Most successful people you will see never let success get in the way of the journey.
If you’re like Elon Musk, check out the site as well. You may be surprised at how pleasantly a fortune can be made. You might even learn how helping others can help you.