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Elon Musk is now the world's richest man. His answer in response is pure emotional intelligence




Tesla's shares rose more than 20 percent in one week, increasing Elon Musk's personal net worth to $ 195 billion, $ 10 billion more than former world richest man Jeff Bezos, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index on January 8.

When Tesla Silicon Valley Owners tweeted the news, Musk's response was just six words, "How weird," followed by "Well, back to work …" It may seem like a pretty ho- hum reaction to becoming the richest person in the world. But it was a perfectly perfect answer, and a useful lesson in emotional intelligence for every leader.

You see, he knows just how random and changeable this piece of good news is, as it is news related to the company's share. price. The Tesla shares closed at more than $ 880 the day I wrote this piece, but less than two years ago they were worth about $ 38. (Go ahead and save yourself if you did not buy anything at the time, I certainly am.)

When it comes to Musk, it is difficult to overestimate how new his membership is among the richest people in the world. He earned $ 1

50 billion – more than three-quarters of his mega-fortune – in the last year alone. It is probably not difficult for him to remember the days when he slept in the office – not so that he could spend maximum time at work, which is often the case these days, but because he could not afford an apartment to travel home to.

He also knows how quickly assets can change, especially when they are linked to the whims of the financial markets. In recent years, he has fought against card sellers (investors who are betting that the company's share price will fall) for bad mouth in Tesla, perhaps in a vicious attempt to make a quick profit. He has seen legitimate stock analysts question Tesla's prospects and predict its downfall over and over again – such a company only publicly admitted that it got things very, very wrong. And Musk also learned how the Securities and Exchange Commission could cut its wings, even when everything else went right.

In other words, he absorbs some wisdom every business executive should remember. Some days you are the hero, and other days you are the goat, and it is much smarter to ignore the ups and downs of what people (and markets) think of you. Instead, do what Musk says all CEOs should do – focus on making your product "as amazing as it could be."

If a sky-high stock price, or hitting a business goal, or getting a price, makes you feel like you're on top of the world, you may crash when you miss your goals, or lose a great customer , or face public criticism. The best leaders do not take any of this seriously. Instead, they do what Musk says he does – they return to work.

The opinions expressed here by the Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.


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