Lessons I’ve Learned from Being Obsessed with Elon Musk

Updated on July 7th, 2016

My obsession with Elon began when I was watching a video of a Google hosted panel discussion about space travel – on which were Richard Branson and Elon Musk were guests. I came for Branson.

Pretty soon, I had nearly forgotten who Branson was. Each time the interviewer posed a question, I’d wait in frustration for Branson to finish his answer so we could get back to Musk. This man was remarkable. He had a way of explaining complex problems in ways that just make sense. For instance, people ask why he has always wanted to build electric cars. He said that even if human caused climate change is a myth – is it really a gamble we should take? Plus, we are going to run out of oil eventually so we may as well do something about it now out of choice rather than later out of necessity.

For anyone living under a rock, Elon Musk is the billionaire founder of PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX and several other successful companies. He spends his work week flying between his rocket factory and his car factory.

This article will share what I’ve learned from watching nearly every Elon Musk interview on YouTube, reading every article I come across and fanboying every time I see a Tesla.

Keep Moving Forward – Even if Failure Is the Most Likely Outcome

Elon Musk believe the most likely outcome for SpaceX and Tesla was failure. He thought Tesla had a better chance than SpaceX but he thought each had a better chance of failing than succeeding. But he proceeded anyway. He says that if you believe in something strong enough, it’s worth pursuing – no matter the outcome.

On Christmas Eve 2008, the Tesla board met for one final time. They informed Elon that they had enough capital to keep going for just a few more weeks and then the company would end. In front of everyone, Elon said he would personally invest everything he had into Tesla to keep it alive. He had to borrow money for rent.

Hustle like a Madman

In Musk’s early days, he had only enough money for either an office space or an apartment. He chose the office space. He and his brother would live in the rented office and shower at the YMCA across the street. He lived largely off of hot dogs and oranges since they were cheap (and, as Elon Musk has said, the oranges would keep away scurvy). He and his brother worked day and night.

Your Goal in Learning Should Be to Soak up as Much Actionable Knowledge as Possible

Elon Musk has said college is a very inefficient waste of time. It’s because one can learn much faster simply by reading than attending lectures. When asked how Elon was able to build a rocket ship company he simply said, “I read a lot.”

 

Don’t Focus Too Much on Money

Elon didn’t focus on money in order to get where he’s at in life. Rather, he focused on accomplishing his mission. I’ve watched dozens of hours of Elon Musk interviews and I don’t believe I’ve ever heard him say much about personal finance. He would rather focus on the mission and get the money as he needs it. He doesn’t focus on money first.

Think Long-Term

SpaceX was founded in 2002

Tesla was founded in 2003

But you’ve probably only just heard of Elon Musk around 2013 when the Tesla Model S made a splash as the best car ever made (according to Consumer Reports). This shows that Elon is willing to wait in order to achieve success. After all, most successful people harness the power of delayed gratification. Musk is certainly no exception.

 

How will you apply these lessons of Mr. Musk?

William Lipovsky

William Lipovsky

William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. He began investing when he was 10 years old. His financial works have been published on Business Insider, Entrepreneur, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, and many others.

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