Elon Musk and Peter Thiel Picture

Entrepreneurship is more than just buying and selling products or services. It's about being able to innovate and impact lives positively. It's no coincidence that the most successful entrepreneurs in the world are those who are willing to think big and act upon their thoughts with a tremendous amount of actions. As examples of massive actions undertaken by entrepreneurs willing to think big, let's consider Elon Musk and Peter Thiel two members of what is so called the "PayPal Mafia." 

Elon Musk

Elon Musk was born in South Africa in 1971. Although he has spoken out about his troubled childhood, he found the strength to teach himself how to program on the computer he bought himself at just ten years old. At twelve, he had made his first software sale – Blastar, a video game he'd created from scratch. In 1989, he moved to Canada to attend Queens University and later the University of Pennsylvania, gaining two degrees. Later on, he moved to Stanford University to pursue a Ph.D, however dropped out after just two days. Why? To start his path towards entrepreneurship with the birth of his company Zip2, an online city guide. Zip2 was purchased in 1999 for over $300 million (USD) cash.

Elon Musk during his college years at Queens University

Younger Elon Musk during his college years

Later that year, Musk co-founded X.com, a site aimed at online finance and payments. This would later become what we know today as PayPal. Some of Elon Musk's other companies to date, include: SpaceX (Founder, CEO, CTO) Tesla Motors (Co-Founder, CEO, Product Architect) Solar City (Chairman) OpenAI (Co-Chairman).

Through his entrepreneurial journey, Musk has achieved a net worth of $12.4 billion dollars (USD) as of January 2016. His ideas have had a strong impact on the world, changing the way we use eCommerce, funding the possibilities of space travel and promoting use of the electric car to preserve the environment. To emphasize on the importance of the power of bold thinking, Musk may never have accomplished this if he hadn't had the confidence to travel the path least traveled by undertaking ventures that are way beyond the average ventures, teaching us that if you have an idea, never be afraid to take action, massive actions.

Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel moved to the United States at just one year old, growing up to attend Stanford University and later, Stanford Law School, graduating with a J.D. In 1992. After graduating, he worked in derivative trading before founding his own multi strategy fund in 1996 – Thiel Capital Management, which was his primary focus until 1998, when he co-founded PayPal.

Since PayPal's development, Thiel has been associated with a number of forward thinking companies, such as: Founders Fund (Managing Partner) Y Combinator (Part Time Partner) Clarium Capital (President) Palantir Technologies (Co-Founder and Chairman) Facebook (Financial Backer and Board Member). Thiel has openly discussed his view on the ways PayPal has impacted the world, and is especially proud of the way the system can liberate people from currency erosion caused by inflation.

Today, his net worth is $2.8 billion dollars (USD) . His ideas are amongst those who have had a strong impact on the world. Thiel may never have accomplished this if he hadn't had the confidence to undertake ventures that are way beyond the average ventures, teaching us that if you have an idea, never be afraid to take action, massive actions. 

The Important Take Away

Of course, the other members of the "PayPal Mafia" have already found success with their ideas (some of the companies include: YouTube, Linkedin, Yelp and Reddit) , however that's not to say you can't take valuable inspiration from their work and achievements. As for where to start, consider the following: The two entrepreneurs overcame adversity in their lives before finding success in their respective career paths. This can serve as an important reminder that no matter what you're going through in life, there is a path that can be followed in order to over come it and achieve your goals. Without thinking big, Musk and Thiel would not have had the strive to meet their accomplishments. If they can do it, so can you. Secondly, not one of the PayPal mafia were unsure of their ideas. You may think the project you've come up with is a little out of the box, but that's positive not negative and does not mean people won't respond well to your idea. Remember, PayPal came at a time everyone relied on only their bank accounts and most purchases were made offline in brick and mortar stores, yet there was still a significant gap for their idea to fill. Through following and understanding their entrepreneurial accomplishments, you can rest assured knowing the key way to success is to think big, stay disciplined and back it up with a tremendous amount of actions. So work on your project, think outside the box and find success of your very own under the guidance of your entrepreneurial heroes.