Hopefully this is both the first and last time I'll ever reference the Urban Dictionary for anything, but I was so intrigued when I first heard the term "thrillionaire" that I just had to check it out.
Urban Dictionary describes a thrillionaire as: "Someone who has millions of dollars, but, due to boredom and a need for thrills, must do daredevil-type stunts."
But that's over-simplifying things quite a bit. See, the first time I heard the word thrillionaire, it was used to describe Elon Musk--PayPal co-founder, SpaceX visionary, Tesla Motors, SolarCity, computer programming, engineering, philanthropist/visionary/all around kicker of life's butt, Elon Musk.
Elon Musk is not bored, guys.
His company SpaceX now has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to resupply (and eventually ferry people to) the International Space Station, effectively replacing the Space Shuttle. How? He seriously dreams that big.
Through his Musk Foundation, he also runs a simulated Mars environment. Basically, he's all about making our wildest science fiction dreams into reality.
But he doesn't do it all for profit. Of course he's incredibly wealthy, but many of his initiatives are not-for-profit.
Thrillionaires aren't thrilled only by crazy stunts or daredevil tricks. They get off on the thrill of giving, too.
They seek out and chase down the thrills of life and they are motivated to live life to the very fullest by seeking adventures that will take them to the edge and back.
They seem to have a powerful inner compass that guides and drives them to great adventures and even better decisions.
Thrillionaires are set apart from the masses, but it's not necessarily about their level of achievement in society--tons of people are successful, but few have reached this status. Thrillionaires are tenacious. They do not rest on their laurels. They're inspired to give back to society as much as they can.
Richard Branson holds more than 200 companies across 30 countries, but what's motivating and inspiring about Branson is that he values his gut over advisers and notes, "If I relied on accountants to make decisions, I most certainly would have never gone into the airline business. I most certainly would not have gone into the space business, and I certainly wouldn't have gone into most of the businesses that I'm in."
When he's not making the news for big business deals, Branson is catching our attention with his big, ambitious adventures--like kitesurfing the English Channel. Here's a guy who treats his entire life, both business and personal, like an extreme sport.
People thought he was crazy when he first started talking about sending people to space. Today, Virgin Galactic has raised hundreds of millions of dollars to privatize space travel.
He regularly suffers setbacks and even fails on occasion (he had to be rescued from the Atlantic Ocean in 1985 after capsizing while attempting the fastest crossing) but knows that's just part of the game.
Larry Ellison is the 5th richest person on the planet, but like each of the thrillionaires above, he is committed to leaving the world a better place as a result of his big thinking and adventures.
A self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie, he's one of the 128 (or so) billionaires to sign The Giving Pledge, committing at least half of his fortune to philanthropic causes (Musk and Branson are also signers). Already, he's given hundreds of millions of dollars to medical research and education, among other initiatives.
Ellison came from humble beginnings and has gone on to accomplish epic things in business, but often, it was his personal life that made headlines. Larry has long raced yachts and his team took the America's cup in 2010. He's been married four times. He's a pilot and collects planes (his favorite is said to be an Italian Marchetti jet). He's broken bones and injured himself quite badly in the course of his sporting adventures.
He once spoke with Bloomberg about his near-death experience off the coast of Australia, while caught in a storm while racing his 78-ft Sayonara:
"We certainly thought it was possible we wouldn't make it. The waves were 40-feet high. They were vertical. They were walls. If you didn't wear a cable, you'd just be blown off the back of the boat. There were four guys with broken bones... You'd just bury yourself in the wave. It was like going up an elevator... one, one thousand; two, one thousand; three, one thousand. Crash! It was like being dropped off a four-story building onto asphalt every 45 seconds. That happened for three hours. It was very bad."
It was bad--other sailors died that day in the violent storm.
Ellison and his team went on to win that race.
And that's the amazing thing about them--thrillionaires live life to the fullest in every way, every single day, win or lose. You just can't keep them down.
Thrillionaires aren't bored. They're driven to test every limit, to push every boundary, to get the rest of us out of our comfort zones by showing us that the impossible is possible, after all.
Long live the thrillionaires!