We are living in a time of political unease in the United States. Many feel that they are just one person, and that they have no power at all over the events proceeding the election. Others feel that they have no channel to further what they define as progress if a majority of people find it to be a waste of time. It is at times like these that we should look to a counter-example for inspiration and for guidance. If I had to choose a story that every American should hear, it's the story of Elon Musk.
Elon Musk is the CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity, and OpenAI. His story is far more relevant than it may seem, as it was his ability to make change that earned him his CEO statuses rather than the reverse. Musk was not at first a rich man, and had to start small by starting up a software company called Zip2 with his brother. He then sold his share of the company to invest in his cyber security idea that became PayPal. From there, Musk moved on to the two changes that he most wanted to see in America.
As someone who cares about change itself more than how to profit off the change, Musk had any number off integral changes that he could have attempted to solve. He chose the two that he felt were the most important to begin work on imminently: keeping the earth inhabitable and finding ways to get humans off earth. Then he got to work. First, he developed SpaceX, the first private business ever hired to send supplies to the International Space Station. SpaceX is also the closest group on earth to achieving transportation to Mars. Second, he created Tesla, the most successful electric car company in America. With Tesla inspiring competition, electric car technology has spiked in the past few years. These two companies are making significant strides on both of the issues Musk set out to solve. Musk is still facing heavy resistance from the people who would profit off of the belief that the earth is in no danger of inhabitability, such as oil or car company executives. The Republican party has also attempted to block Tesla sales in their states.
Recently, Elon Musk had a series of meetings with President Trump centered around technology development. After these meetings, Trump enacted a carbon tax to discourage air pollution. Trump, a famous disbeliever in climate change or the dangers of pollution, was moved to action by what Musk had to say. This is precisely why this story is so inspiring. Most people would agree that people are moved to action more by tragedy than by success, but most people don't know the story of Elon Musk. Musk took home $1 for all the work he did in 2014. If a man that came from nothing can now command the change he believed the world needed in spite of powerful adversaries and without the need for profit, why not let that inspire us? These are troubling times. But no matter where you are affiliated, we can all agree that change is necessary. Let's not let this great opportunity for motivation and inspiration pass America by.
~ Alexander Giannico