7 Things to Learn from Elon Musk

Elon Musk

People often think entrepreneurs are cold and distant people, but the truth is, entrepreneurs these days are incredibly different from the ones we met 20 years ago.

Our times demand a more human approach to business, and famous businessmen like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and even Oprah, understand it very well. This human approach allows regular people, like us, to sneak peek a little into their lives and learn a thing or two about them.

In this article, I would like to talk about Elon Musk in particular; his name may sound familiar to you since recently he was building a small submarine to rescue a group of children, they were trapped in a Thailand’s cave for weeks!

Elon’s life is full of teachings and lessons that we can apply in many scenarios; he’s an inspiration for all of us, his life and decisions are proof that if we don’t like something, we can change it for good.

But without further introduction, let’s talk about those 7 things we can learn from Elon Musk and how can we apply them to our lives.

1. Never Stop Learning

Notice how I say “learning” instead of “studying”, the process of learning involves much more than jumping from one university to another.

Since Elon was a little kid he felt a passion for reading, he has always been a bookworm, despite the bullying at school. He knew how much he enjoyed discovering things, and never stopped learning.

With only 10 years old, he became so interested in computing that he taught himself computer programming. He even sold his first video game code at age 12.

He is self-taught in Physics and rocket science too.

2. Be Persistent

We are not going to have good times forever, sometimes, whether we can predict it or not, bad things are going to happen to us.

We simply can’t avoid them, but what we can actually do is decide how they affect us. Take Elon’s early childhood as an example, he was bullied so bad that he ended up in the hospital a few times, but that never stopped him from learning and reading.

Other great examples of persistence are all the apps, programs, gadgets, vehicles and business models he has created. Do you think they just burst out of his mind one day and they were perfect? Of course not! It took many trials before launching them into the world.

3. Focus on The Big Picture

When things don’t go the way we want them, sometimes we may feel desperate or disappointed and we tent to give up on stuff that actually matters to us.

Instead of seing that goal unapproachable, see the big picture! Elon knew he wanted to make a difference, but where did he start? Identifying the areas where he could actually make a change and going forward, that’s why all his inventions are related to clean energy, the internet and space.

Do you think is impossible to put a man on Mars? Elon doesn’t, because he is persistent and sees the final results instead of focusing on the problems to get there, so he came up with SpaceX, a space project that will establish a Martian colony by 2040.

4. Be Creative

An easy way to solve our daily problems is thinking out of the box, even the hardest problems have a solution, you just need a little creativity boost to see the light.

Elon Musk is a great entrepreneur not only because he has a passion for learning, but also because of his ability to try new approaches and continually challenging himself.

It helps a lot to sit down for a minute, and write down as many ideas as you can that could help you solve a problem. Is the idea too crazy? Never mind, write it down! And by the end of the day, you will have dozens of alternatives to get out of that situation.

To help you be more creative, there are some activities you could perform to help you see things more clearly. For example, there’s the Six Thinking Hats method, created by Edward Bono in 1971.

Basically, you get to imagine you are wearing six different hats; one at the time, and when you wear the white hat, for example, you must think neutrally about the problem, then you wear the red hat, so you must consider all the emotional aspects related to the problem, and so on until you’ve tried all the six hats.

It will help you see different perspectives, see the pros and cons of an idea, to be creative and to gather information.

5. Always Welcome Criticism

Nobody likes to be criticized, it affects our ego and the perception we have of our work and ourselves. But we must welcome criticism in order to be better at what we do.

As an entrepreneur, Elon knows that recognition is important, but it’s always better to be famous for doing something amazing than for being that one guy that did it wrong.

Talk to people around you, your family, friends and coworkers, let them tell you what they think about what you’re doing and try to see things from their perspective.

It is not about doing what other people tell you, it’s more about taking their critiques and turning them into something that will benefit you or help you grow your life project.

6. Do Not Be Afraid to Work with Smarter People

There is always something new to learn, and if we gather ourselves with smarter people than we are, we may learn one or two things that we didn’t even know we needed.

Smarter people may make us feel shy or that our opinions are not that important; it is completely normal to feel this way, but we must make an effort and try to overcome those feelings for our own good.

Elon understands very well the importance of keeping our ego and ambitions under the table, especially when it comes to the future of a company.

He is not afraid to hire smarter people, he is actually willing to learn from them and to work hand in hand.

7. Do Not Obsess Over Your Competition

Do you have a coworker that manages to do things better and faster than you do? Is there a business similar to yours that attracts more clients? Instead of focusing on how worried or anxious you’re feeling about it, try to understand how they do it.

Once you have identified what you want to do, why and how, do not look around to crush your competition, instead see what it’s working for them and how you can apply that knowledge to your goals.

Elon never creates anything to compete, but to serve others and to fix issues that other companies do not want to fix. PayPal and Tesla are great examples of this point.


As you see, becoming one of the most acclaimed CEO in the world involves patience, passion for what you do, sympathy and persistence.

Did you ever think that you could have so much to learn about someone like Elon Musk? Probably you didn’t, but I hope that these 7 tips taken from Elon Musk’s live help you to be a better person, boss, friend, and to help you succeed in life.

 

Image By: Jake Young