Update May 2018: Elon shared my open letter on his Twitter with a lovely comment.
Dear Elon Musk,
I used to think you were just another one of those out of touch billionaires. There are so many people in America struggling to make ends meet, to survive, and even fighting suicidal tendencies–struggling to find their will to live and here you are talking about Mars and futuristic things that seem too impossible to even comprehend.
Then I discovered for myself that I was so wrong–and so sorry about that. What really got me to actually learning about you was this meme I saw on LinkedIn a few months ago saying “If you were in an elevator with Elon Musk what would your pitch be?”
It lead me to Google you, study you, and eventually follow you on Twitter. And when I saw your interviews, I saw how wrong I was. In one interview, you said you never give up on yourself which really made me reflect on my own failures in life. In all of my ventures, I’ve never had anyone tell me I would fail–which is very rare.
In 2009 I started a nonprofit. It was to raise awareness about homelessness in the USA. I was homeless when I was 9. At the time of founding the nonprofit, the average age of a homeless American was 9 years old. I didn’t think I would fail and neither did the people who believed in me. But I did. It crashed and burned, but while it was high in the sky we actually did what we set out to do: raise awareness by uniting artists of all mediums.
We were the first to bring an international movement to Atlanta, got a spot sponsored for an event at The Masquerade, something I was told was very hard to do but we did it and had a blast just trying to raise awareness from an artistic and musical base. We even had a Grammy winning guitarist behind us (he’s the one who taught me how to wire wrap).
I was so hard on myself over this failure and I didn’t want to try again. My husband said that it doesn’t matter if you fail–just as long as you try and though I understood him, I didn’t believe it. I tried to, but it just wasn’t there.
We opened and closed offices, I managed a gallery in Dallas, TX and my jewelry took off a little bit, but then the mall closed the gallery. We took a chance on a city we didn’t know: Houston. And lost almost everything in Harvey. But we survived. In fact, we were among the lucky ones.
Things happened that landed us back in Atlanta–a city filled with people who will believe in you even though they have no clue who you are. Working and trying to make it, I watched one of your interviews and seeing you talk about your first three launches were failing but you never will give up on yourself just made me realize that my failures were not as big as exploding rockets–but you still kept going.
And that really, really inspired me.
You are reaching for your dreams with everything you’ve got despite how many people are mocking, joking or downright telling you not to do it and that drive is what many people have lost due to some of the severe challenges that they face in life.
Our culture says “You can do whatever you put your mind to” while simultaneously saying “You can, buuuut, don’t. You really can’t and if you do, they will mock you, or you will fail”
And people end up giving up on their dreams, especially when those dreams become opposite of financial stability.
I want you and anyone reading this to know that your words and persistence of never giving up are the match that lit the fire behind Diamonds For Her. It’s a jewelry line I am launching that will help nonprofits that help women in need. The message: Never Give UP On Yourself. I’ve had this idea for about 3 years but never acted on it due to fears of failure.
Hearing you, a super successful person say that you thought you would fail but did it anyway, was inspiring. It doesn’t matter if you fail or not–what matters is that you do it.
In one the interviews I saw you give, it was mentioned that American heroes were against what you are doing with SpaceX. But in all honestly, not every American hero is against you. You never gave up on yourself, and you, sir, are an American hero of this age.
Your message of never giving up may not reach some of the people who need to hear it the most: the vulnerable women and children who have been through the emotional and mental hell that homelessness in America can put on them. They may see you as I did, but what I am doing will help direct that message to them. At least, that is my hope. Thank you, Elon, for staying focused on your dreams no matter what.
Right now, my family and I are in Atlanta. I am working for a pizzeria (and saving to make my dreams come true). If you are ever in the area, I’ll buy you a deep dish as a way of saying thanks for being you. I even jokingly said I’d trade some handmade jewelry for a share of Tesla but in all honestly, I’d rather just give you the jewelry (pass on to your Mom or someone who likes my design style) and buy stock when I can.
I am going to leave you with this quote from musician, Alex Boye from his song, Heart Of A Lion.
“You say you ain’t a hero, but maybe it chose you”
PS: (Added May 2)
I want to give this to you. It’s a Moldavite wrapped in Copper and a pendant. The reason is because this stone is as unique as you are. Moldavite actually came from space. Scientists are still argueing over it’s origins but all agree it happened about 6 or so million years ago. It has a legend of the Holy Grail associated with it and I think it would be a great visual reminder for you when you face your dark times alone–a reminder that you are doing the right thing. That as long as you remain focused on your dreams, no matter the outcome, you will always be doing the right thing.
Just tell me where to send it (and do it through twitter or IG so I’ll know it’s you and not fake)
About the Author
Johnna Sabri is a mineral, gem and crystal collector and wire artist. She loves experimenting with different styles of wrapping and collecting gems and minerals. Her work has been modeled by GA State University students in one of their annual fashion shows.
Johnna has also served customers all around the world including Dubai, Finland, The Philippines, Australia, Canada, the UK, China, and Hong Kong as well as people in every US state.
She learned her craft from Grammy winning guitarist, Daryl Adonis Thompson, son of Eli “Lucky” Thompson, the saxophonist who played with Dizzy Gillespie and Isaac Hayes. Daryl was well known in the Little 5 Points Atlanta community as a master at his craft. Read more on Johnna here.