Will they or won’t they? That is the question I have been asking myself as I continue to watch feuding tech moguls, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg tease a pay-per-view cage fight between them.
Considering the significant public interest in this, I have no doubt it would be one of the most watched UFC fights of all time if it happens. I’m very skeptical it ever will however. Not because the two sides don’t want to get in there and duke it out, but because their egos won’t allow them to risk losing to the other in something they are not experts at.
These rivalries are not new in business. Our history is filled with corporate tycoons so focused on the defeat of their competition that it became a personal obsession. Probably the most famous of these was the feud between John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie in the late nineteenth century. The animosity between the famed oil and steel magnates was legendary.
They were not the only industrialist who found themselves entangled in personal battles however. Even long after their own death’s, the companies’ former partners Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla founded continued to fight with one another for decades. W.K. Kellogg’s and C.W. Post had a very personal rivalry over who stole what cereal recipes. More recently, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs attacked one another routinely over which of them was intellectually and creatively superior.
While these disputes can seem like petty squabbles amongst billionaires, they actually serve a greater purpose, and can teach us something about how to be successful ourselves.
I believe the biggest determining factor in how much we accomplish in life is how motivated we are to succeed. Yes, talent is important, as is our socio-economic background. But nothing can stop a truly ambitious individual that also has the drive and the discipline it takes reach their goals.
But how do you remain motivated after reaching the mountaintop? After all, it can be quite easy to become apathetic once you obtain great personal wealth and prestige. I believe what many of these icons of industry often do to keep themselves driven to greatness is develop a personal grudge or feud with another highly successful business leader they actually respect. By doing this, they manufacture a reason to work even harder.
We see the same principals at play in professional sports. During his Hall of Fame speech Michael Jordan openly admitted that throughout his life he would search out things others had done or said for which he could take offense. He would then use this chip on his shoulder as fuel to keep his natural competitiveness always burning. https://youtu.be/XLzBMGXfK4c .I see similar traits in Patrick Mahomes today.
I have to admit, apathy can be one of my greatest enemies. I can have a tendency to become comfortable in my own past successes and to rest on my laurels. The truth is, there is no such thing as plateauing. If you are not moving forward, you are moving backwards. That is why it is so important that you provide yourself a reason to keep progressing onward.
In one of my all-time favorite books, “Find Your Why” Simon Senek argues each of us have a deep-rooted purpose, cause, or belief that serves as the source of our passion and drive. https://simonsinek.com/books/find-your-why/ .If we successfully identify it, we can use it as the motivation we need to accomplish great things.
The question I am forcing myself to answer this week is what is motivating me? I challenge you to ask yourself the same question. If your motivation at work is simply a paycheck, or a desire to avoid being hassled for making a mistake, you will never reach your full potential. Perhaps the solution for each of us is to develop our own giant worthy of slaying, and get back on the battlefield.
(Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The advice is general in nature and not intended for specific situations)