Elon Musk has gone through a lot of hell.
When he was serving as CEO of PayPal, he was victim of a coup — getting fired while he was on vacation.
He founded a space exploration company when everybody thought the idea was nuts.
He invested his personal fortune in Tesla Motors when the company was perilously close to crashing, and then turned it around.
So when a Reddit user asked during his Monday Ask Me Anything how he’s been so resilient, Musk had the perfect response — care of one of the most dogged world leaders in history.
Here’s the question from user catsx3:
Hi Elon, I currently work for Toyota Tsusho in Fremont doing the wheel assembly for Tesla. I want to let you know how proud I am to be however minutely linked to such a powerful and positively influential company such as yours. Keep doing the good work, sir. You are an inspiration to not only myself but countless others around the world.
My question: You seem to have had to deal with a tremendous amount of adversity in a few of your ventures. Do you have any advice for those dealing with seemingly insurmountable adversity?
And Musk’s response:
There is a great quote by Churchill: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
To refresh your memory, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill led the UK through World War II. He was a master orator; his “Finest Hour” speech given during the rise of Nazi Germany was arguably the single best piece of political rhetoric of the 20th century.
However, there’s a fair chance that Churchill never said the quote Musk attributed to him. The Quote Investigator blog references a Winston Churchill publication that in 2009 declared that the “going through hell” quote is “not by Churchill, or at least not verifiable in any of the 50 million published words by and about him.” The blog argues that the line can be best traced back to a 1990 newspaper profile of a self-help author.
Regardless of the line’s origin, the sentiment stands: If you’re going through startup hell, keep going.
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