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How to Think like Elon Musk?

Elon Musk is the pioneer of creativity. From useful inventions to splendid ideas-he is known for his ideas and their execution. let's explore his mind and get a little deeper into his ideas.


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shivani jha

a year ago | 3 min read


When a South African schoolboy bullied for being too smart becomes a trailblazer for billion-dollar companies in the future — the world wants to peep into his mind.

Elon Musk is a man who dreamt of going all the way to the moon and did it.

No wonder sometimes you think, “How can someone inject such a high dose of entrepreneurship?”

Well, He started with co-founding a software company then PayPal, founding X.com an online bank and then launching space X. He then joined Tesla motors, learned about electric vehicles and what not?

The list goes on and on and on.

Let's go back in time, Musk was an avid reader in his childhood— as per his brother Kimbal, Musk read two books a day — didn’t matter what they were about.

His thriving knowledge is a result of the foundation seed, Musk planted for himself in his initial years. Meanwhile, learning one new skill can be pretty rough for people like “You”.

I will later include myself in the list, don’t worry!

But for Elon Musk, It’s easy to bust the myth of "Jack of all trades, master of none” with these two golden rules.

Fundamentals are Building Blocks

Musk hired brain coach Jim Kwik for coaching people in Space X, Where Jim Kwik mentioned in an interview “Musk brought me in because he realized, like most successful people on the planet realize, to be successful, you have to always be learning,”.

This means Musk knows the importance of learning and wants to pass on this golden rule to his team members.

In fact, when Musk received a fan question on how he manages to learn everything fast? In response, Musk wrote:

“One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree — make sure you understand the fundamental principles, i.e. the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.”

He shared his nuggets of wisdom, everything he applied, from starting PayPal to Tesla and Space X.

In simple terms, he uses the first principle, which is the act of boiling down a process to its fundamentals that are true and re-building it from there.

He metaphorically says that re-building the core of knowledge, which is the trunk (in the case of a tree) is more essential than anything else.

In Chris Anderson's words “Nail the basics first, detail the details later”.

For Example: Imagine you have 3 things

  • A bicycle
  • A car
  • A motorboat with a flying balloon behind it

Now, let’s break it down into single constituent parts

  • Bicycle: handle, gear, seat, wheels
  • Car: engine, metal pieces, tires
  • Motorboat: flying balloon, motor, a boat

These are the basics and now you can start revamping a new idea up from here.

Now, what can you create from these individual leftover parts?

Ultimately, you will get to a new combination: Flying balloon, motor, engine and wheels = A flying engine.

In a nutshell, this is the secret sauce of learning behind the world's greatest mind.

Connecting is the superpower

You can’t remember what you can’t connect. This is the real reason why Musk is a sea of knowledge.

As per memory experts, If you want to improve your learning skills, connect it with something you already know.

For example, connecting things with someone you know, like going back to your childhood “Christian from Alaska where my brothers live". Training your brain with mental hooks like this creates a common experience for you and your brain memory.

The trick here is to visualize the location and the things you're leading to.

Here’s how Elon musk applied his learning method –

  • Using technology to build PayPal.
  • Using physics to create a boring company.
  • Using Aerospace to build falcon rockets, space X.
  • Idealizing trains in Hyperloop concept.
  • Using web technology to create his first web software company Zip 2.

Keith Holy Oak, a UCLA professor of psychology and one of the world’s leading thinkers, recommends people to ask themselves questions like these, “What does this remind me of ?”, and “Why does this remind me of it?”.

The number one reason why we often fail to remember any strangers' name.

Bottom line — We can appreciate his heroic work ethic but it’s more about the process he follows. There is no magic or superpowers behind it, the key takeaway is :

  • Not following the set-up rules and dogma of specialization.
  • Having the ability to move beyond the traditional rule or thoughts.
  • Learn the fundamentals and relate them to your real life.

After reading this, you might not become the next Mars man but refueling your future with these tips isn’t a bad idea.

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shivani jha

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Freelance content writer for Saas, Health and wellness niche| Blog writer| B2B content writer| want some help in creating content that attracts your audience? Then you're just one email away.


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