Elon Musk is probably one of the most admired role models of many aspiring billionaires. Many people become successful in just one field. But Elon Musk is an exception. He is an expert in a range of industries; from online money to electric cars and space travel. He is an engineer, inventor, innovative businessman and, above all, a next-level genius.
He is the CEO, co-founder and product architect of Tesla; CEO, founder, and lead designer of SpaceX, Inc.; the founder of The Boring Company, CEO and co-founder of Neuralink; an early influencer of PayPal and co-chairman and co-founder of OpenAI. He has a ranking of 40 on the Forbes list of The World’s Most Powerful People in the year 2019.
You will be hard-pressed to find any other businessman as bold and brave as Elon Musk in the world today. That is why Times Magazine named Elon Musk as the 25th most influential person in the world in the year 2018.
Today there are several million fans of Elon Musk and his thoughts. He is running a number of companies for the benefit of the world, the environment and mankind. His ideology has been to change the world and he has been changing it too.
So what makes Elon Musk so special?
Elon Musk’s approach to life
Elon Musk thinks differently from others. He says that those who do not take risks are the ones who are most at risk. Generally, successful people are the ones who have taken risks at one time or the other.
But Elon Musk takes risk-taking to a level beyond even those who have enjoyed great success. He has been taking risks throughout his life. The electric cars which were thought to be impossible have been made possible by him. He is in the process of sending people to Mars.
He is sending rockets to space at a significantly lower cost than has ever been done before. These are technological developments that humanity has discussed for decades, but no one else had the will to risk the money and energy to make them a reality.
It is very difficult to gain success in the technology industry. In spite of trying, many do not succeed. But Elon Musk has achieved success not once but two to three times. It’s because he looks at the world from a different perspective.
He is not an average Silicon Valley employee who works only for money. His approach to the world has always been different. He always looked for a safe technology for the benefit of mankind. His priority has always been humanity.
His main desire is to send human beings to Mars because he feels that the earth is no longer a safe place to live, as there is a depletion of natural resources, out- of-control degradation of the environment and the ever-present threat of asteroids harming the earth.
He is working very hard to avoid the catastrophic impact of these circumstances. And because of this commitment, he has always been successful. He searches for answers for each and every question he faces, and he pursues those answers with creativity and confidence.
Elon Musk Childhood and His Photographic Memory
Elon Musk did not have a happy childhood growing up in South Africa. In order to deal with his sadness, he spent more time on studies. He could read two encyclopedias at a time and remember everything. He was highly inspired by the book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
After reading this book, he realized that answering questions is easy, but asking the right question was difficult. From then onwards he started acquiring knowledge and information that could benefit mankind.
He loved science and computers. He learned computer programming on his own. By the time he went to high school, he learned how to send solar power to other planets, paperless banking and how space rockets work. At the same time he developed an entrepreneurial mindset, perhaps best demonstrated by his developing a video game called “Blaster” when he was twelve.
He sold it for $500. In his childhood, Elon Musk, the technically savvy billionaire, was scared of darkness. Of course, fear of darkness is a simple vulnerability that has plagued even the most successful and powerful people during childhood.
Gradually, over the years he understood that darkness is nothing but the absence of light. In scientific terminology it is the absence of photons in the visible wavelength from 400 to 700 nanometers. Having understood this, he realized that it was really foolish of him to be afraid of darkness which is in reality a lack of photons. He was no longer afraid of darkness.
He studied at Queen’s University in Canada, and his self-confidence grew as he began to see his exceptional intellect and drive in comparison to his peers. Those years effected many changes in his personality as his leadership qualities began to emerge, especially through his frequent participation in public speaking.
Then came the turning point in Elon Musk’s life. He already knew that to achieve anything, America would be the best option for a base, as it had better opportunities when compared to other places. After college, Elon Musk entered the dot com business.
In 1995 he started a company named “Global Link Information Network” with his brother. The name was later changed to “Zip2.” As the internet was not yet prevalent in those days and as Zip2 was based on the internet, many people laughed at him, saying that it was a useless business. But Elon Musk was never discouraged.
Seeing the energy and enthusiasm in Elon Musk, a venture capitalist invested in Elon’s company. Slowly money started pouring in. In 1999 Compaq bought Zip2 for $307 million. His next ambition was to become a successful CEO. With the money from the sale of Zip2, Elon Musk bought a house, a sports car and a small plane.
The remaining money he invested in his new business venture “X.com.” In a time when people rarely thought about buying anything online and would think twice about providing bank account details through the newfangled internet, X.com became one of the first online banks in the world. He began in partnership with Barclays bank, which lent a significant amount of credibility to the concept.
When everything was going smoothly, Elon Musk was faced with considerable competition from Confinity, an online payment company that had created the concept that we now know as PayPal. In the year 2000 these companies merged to form a single company.
Later that year, Musk was replaced in the position of CEO after making the strategic decision to focus only on the PayPal service. Nonetheless, when eBay bought the company, then renamed PayPal, in 2002, Musk received a handsome payout. At the age of 31, he had already sold two enormously influential companies and gained and lost a position as CEO. He was primed for his life’s most significant work.
Elon Musk Innovations
SpaceX From the beginning, Elon Musk was deeply interested in space travel. In 2002, NASA and JPL were in the process of sending robotic equipment to Mars to begin sampling the surface elements. So Musk turned his attention to the manufacture of cheap rockets to provide access to space.
This was the first risk taken by him as it is not an easy task to send rockets into space. NASA and The European Space Agency were already working hard on it. The failure of one rocket would result in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars. Everyone thought that he was joking when he said that he wanted to manufacture rockets.
He established SpaceX in the year 2002. In spite of trying many times, the rockets invented by his company always failed. It took four years for the SpaceX company to launch a rocket successfully. Though he faced many failures in these four years, Elon Musk was never discouraged. With his intelligence and consistent hard work Musk established SpaceX as a successful company.
SpaceX created history as the first private aerospace company to make a contract with NASA. With his passion he was able to establish SpaceX as the first successful commercial space company. Electric car Elon Musk realized that to keep a check on the pollution created by gas and diesel emissions from cars and trucks, electric cars would be the right solution.
He had many detractors who cited the disadvantages of electric cars: expensive batteries, quick battery discharge and low speeds. Both among the average consumer and the wealthy, there was not much craze for electric cars.
But Elon Musk, with his ideas, developed electric cars into supercars with as much allure and status as Ferarris or Jaguars. In 2003, he invested $6.5 million in Tesla, and the company launched the Tesla Roadster, boasting that it could run for 200 miles with one charge. But when it was test-driven on the BBC’s TopGear program, the Roadstar came to a sudden halt after 50 miles.
This was a big setback for Elon Musk and his Tesla company. People lost confidence in Tesla and electric cars. Though the concept was not initially popular, Tesla gradually gained success. In 2012 the Model S, a Sedan car, was launched, and it changed the history of transportation.
The car could run 670 miles on one charge, had complete internet access and with sensors the driver could start the car engine without pressing any button. Everyone called it a computer on wheels.
When it came to safety, no other car could match it. The NHTSA gave it a 5-star rating. Consumer Reports gave its highest rating ever, a 99%, and referred to it as the best car ever built. This was a great achievement for Elon Musk, a man who did not have a background in car design but who rose to the top of the industry and delivered world-changing innovation by the sheer force of his will. Solar City After investing in SpaceX and Tesla, Elon Musk invested in solar energy.
He wanted to use an energy that would not harm the environment in any way. For this he invested in a company called Solar City. Solar City was started in the year 2006. There was a small setback for Elon Musk when a bank which had fixed a deal with Solar City cancelled its deal later.
But with sheer hard work and the right decisions, by 2012 it became America’s top manufacturer of solar panels. By supplying solar panels to customers from individuals to giant companies like Walmart and Intel, by the year 2014 Solar City’s valuation reached $7 billion. All the three companies of Musk were interlinked.
Tesla develops batteries for Solar City. Solar City supplies solar panel for charging stations to Tesla. Though Elon Musk has achieved whatever he wanted to, these are still his side projects only. His final goal is to enhance the upliftment of the human race. For this he is advancing with new ideas.
Additional innovations A hyperloop is a concept for a fast transportation system that became the basis of yet another Elon Musk innovation beginning in 2013. In this, people are transported through a pneumatic tube that flies in the air. It travels about 800 miles per hour.
In the year 2014, Elon Musk started a Gigafactory, the biggest lithium-ion manufacturing facility in the world. The Gigafactory will make the batteries required for Tesla cars easily available. In the near future, Musk wants to take human beings to space through SpaceX. Through SpaceX, he is planning to develop and sell satellites too.
His last goal is to take humans to the planet Mars. He has also planned to transport people from one place to another anywhere on the earth in one hour with the help of rockets. And the work on this is in its final stages. You can send a rocket upwards, but it is difficult to land it. But Elon Musk achieved this too.
That is why he is called the “real-life Iron Man”. The idea of the Boring Company came to Elon Musk when he was stuck in a traffic jam. He wanted to construct an underground tunnel to beat traffic congestion and move people at a higher speed.
He hopes it will become a network of underground highways with vehicles running at a speed of 125 miles per hour. Elon Musk has warned that in the future, the advent of artificial intelligence and advanced robots may prove to be a threat to mankind.
But everyone is busy developing AI. So to protect humans from AI, he started a company called Neuralinks: the basic premise is to insert powerful chips in the human brain. With this, not only is brain activity enhanced but it will also help humans with epilepsy and forgetfulness. With this chip you can also control outside objects with your thoughts.
Musk started the Musk Foundation, which concentrates on providing solar-power energy systems in disaster areas. He has donated millions of dollars to many foundations. He has pledged to donate more than half of his earnings to “the giving pledge” campaign started by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.
Musk’s parents separated when he was a child and Musk stayed with his father. Musk says he never liked his father. He does not have contact with his father now. Elon Musk maintains a very good relationship with the rest of his family. All of them are entrepreneurs.
His brother Kimbal is in the food industry and is trying to make the earth a healthier and sustainable place to live. His sister Tosca launched a romance film network. He has a special bond with his mother Maye, who is a well-known model and has been on the covers of New York Magazine, Time Magazine, and Elle Canada.
She has also starred in advertisements for Revlon, Special K cereal, and was even in a music video of Beyoncé’s. She became the oldest spokesmodel on CoverGirl and still runs her own business as a dietician and gives presentations all over the world.
Elon Musk has not had a smooth married life. He got hitched three times. He met his first wife, Canadian author Justine Wilson, while he was studying at Queen’s University. They married in 2000 and divorced in 2008. Musk met Talulah Riley, an English actress and model, in 2008 and he started dating her.
They married in 2010, but by 2012 their four-year relationship ended. They remarried in 2013 but in 2016 that marriage also ended when Riley filed for divorce. Elon Musk started dating Amber Heard in 2016.
They dated for about a year, but they separated after citing their hectic work schedules as the reason. Though he is a failure in his marital life, he never misses having dinner with his children and playing video games with them.
Musk undoubtedly has his critics, and one of the character flaws that they often cite is his impulsiveness, both in his speech, as he often blurts out whatever comes to mind, and in his decision-making. It is easy to recognize the consequence of this tendency within his personal relationships and his history of working with others.
Elon Musk Daily Routine
Elon Musk sleeps for 6 to 6.5 hours daily after realizing that compromising on sleep resulted in lower productivity at work. Musk is also very concerned about his health and has never taken it lightly. He says that to stay fit and in shape he goes to the gym twice weekly.
He makes it a point to do cardio exercises and weight lifting at least once or twice a week. Musk believes that the one daily habit that has had the greatest positive impact on his life is showering.
So he always takes a shower every day, no matter what. Normally he does not spend much time on eating food. He mostly skips breakfast and has only coffee. Typically his lunch comes during meetings and he finishes it in five minutes.
The only time where he eats more or overeats is during business dinners. He works for nearly 80 to 100 hours a week. He travels a lot, as he has to handle many projects simultaneously. Musk always prefers to answer as few phone calls as possible. He does not answer most of them so that he can stay focused on work.
He is also known to use an unclear work email address, so that he can block all unnecessary correspondence. In spite of being very busy he never misses reading his favorite books. Musk loves whiling away time with his sons. Musk is also fond of listening to music in his car and does watch movies occasionally.
Though he may be a super-busy person, he knows how to enjoy his weekends. His Saturdays are meant for spending quality family time with his sons and Sundays are reserved for staying at his Bel Air mansion or travelling. It is also surprising that he loves to party.
Philosophy of life
His philosophy of life is, “Think the impossible and then make it happen.”
He motivates all by saying, “Always dream big. If you get any idea, plan how to achieve it. Think, what to do to achieve it.”
Lessons From Elon Musk
Elon Musk emphasizes hard work. He says that if others and you are working on the same thing, you have to work harder, for instance by working for a greater number of hours than others. In this way you will achieve whatever you want to ahead of others.
The downside of Musk’s torrid intellectual pace is that others can find him demanding, both in the results that others produce and in that they match his effort and commitment. There is a reason that he is exceptional; most people don’t want to invest what he has.
1. The Jack of all trades and master of none myth
Elon Musk is called an Expert Generalist. Expert Generalist means that if you have knowledge in one subject, by learning deeper principles in other subjects, you make use of that principle in your expertise area.
When he was young, his areas of interest were science fiction, philosophy, religion, programming and biographies of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs. Once he grew up, his areas of interest changed to Physics, engineering, product design, business, technology and energy.
He was always interested in increasing his knowledge and worked hard to learn the subjects he liked. To learn these many subjects he used the technique called learning transfer. Learning transfer is applying what you learned in one area into another area.
He does this in a two-step process. First, he deconstructs knowledge into fundamental principles. What he says is, if knowledge is a tree, start thinking from the roots and not from the leaves and then you will automatically understand about its leaves.
He says you should learn the basic principles of all the subjects, study all the related concepts and compare them. You must get a strong grip on the foundational principles of your subject. Second, he reconstructs the fundamental principles in new fields.
From the fundamental principles he has learned, he starts developing his own creation. For instance, using the fundamental principles of aerospace, he created a company like SpaceX; using automotive principles he developed Tesla, with self-driving and gas-free cars; studying about trains he developed new concepts like hyperloop.
If you practice this concept of learning transfer, even you can do anything. By learning the fundamental principles in your subject, you can embed your ideas into and reconstruct anything.
2. Da Vinci Pause
If you want to learn everything in this world, you cannot gain complete knowledge in any of the fields. In this internet era, which is overflowing with information, most of us do not have the interest to concentrate on any one thing.
If you have Physics and Chemistry books beside each other and try to learn, you will not remember anything. So when you are learning and find something interesting, pause it there, learn it thoroughly and gain complete knowledge about it before going to the next thing. It will boost your brain and your brain can grasp that topic well.
So, Elon Musk’s success principle is that he has been a nerd since his childhood. He used to read at least two books in a day. He did not want to specialize in one subject. He learned every subject he liked, and the most important thing is that he implemented what he learned in the real world, which most people do not do.
By creating ideas from the fundamental principles he learned, he took action on them and developed them into billion dollar companies. So, you too can become successful like Elon Musk by working hard, learning the process and creating the real-life implementation of your ideas.
How To Become As Successful As Elon Musk? My Recommendation For You
Success is a concept that means something different to everyone. Whether it means having a great career, a house, or a family, success is something everyone strives for. It makes you proud, it inspires you, and it lets you know that you have made a difference in a competitive world.
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