The first person that comes to mind when I think of the word successful, is Elon Musk. I don't mean success measured by wealth but in terms of creativity and the innovative spirit.
All the great entrepreneurs I admire most—Musk (Paypal, SpaceX, Tesla & Solar City), Jack Dorsey (Square & Twitter), Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos (Amazon)—besides building great companies they tackled big problems that really matter. But even amongst the class of crazy-ones, Elon Musk stands out. Starting with Paypal and investing his fortunes into Telsa, SpaceX and SolarCity, these projects are such radically different ideas, which up to now have been only been dreamt about in science fictions.
As Chris Anderson bluntly asked Musk in a TED Interview, "How on earth has one person been able to innovate in this way? ... What is it about you?"
Elon Musk replies:
I don't know, actually. I don't have a good answer for you. I work a lot. I mean, a lot ... Well, I do think there's a good framework for thinking. It is physics. You know, the sort of first principles reasoning. Generally I think there are -- what I mean by that is, boil things down to their fundamental truths and reason up from there, as opposed to reasoning by analogy.Through most of our life, we get through life by reasoning by analogy, which essentially means copying what other people do with slight variations. And you have to do that. Otherwise, mentally, you wouldn't be able to get through the day. But when you want to do something new, you have to apply the physics approach. Physics is really figuring out how to discover new things that are counterintuitive, like quantum mechanics. It's really counterintuitive. So I think that's an important thing to do, and then also to really pay attention to negative feedback, and solicit it, particularly from friends. This may sound like simple advice, but hardly anyone does that, and it's incredibly helpful.