When I ask people how to become successful like Elon, they always say, ‘no one can be like Elon Musk.’ However, I disagree with them.
Either you can be optimistic, follow Elon Musk and his path to become successful, or you can be pessimistic and say ‘no one can be like Elon Musk’ and stay on the sideline.
I am optimistic about our future. That’s why I believe if you try, you can achieve a lot of things like Elon Musk. Even if you imitate Elon Musk’s 50% lifestyle, you will achieve more than others around you.
After reading many books on Elon Musk, watching numerous Elon Musk’s interviews, this article summarizes my research.
So how to become like Elon Musk? The short answer is to be like Elon Musk; you have to work 80 hours a week, be obsessed and perfectionist, be an avid reader, take risks, never quit, be open to constructive criticism, and work for humanity.
In simple terms, Elon uses the first principle. It is the act of boiling a process down to the fundamentals that are true and re-building from there.
“If the idea is genuinely good, there is a big chance that someone is already working on it. Your idea must be good and remotely crazy as well.” – Elon Musk.
According to Elon Musk, the most important personal attribute for success is not intelligence, education, or experience. It’s merely a determination never to give up. That is the most critical element of success: tenacious determination.
The first step to being like Elon Musk is to know more about him. We should read Elon Musk’s biography. There are various books we can buy from Amazon. However, the following three books are a must-read regarding Elon Musk.
- Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
- Elon Musk: The Life, Lessons & Rules For Success
- A Woman Makes a Plan: Advice for a Lifetime of Adventure, Beauty, and Success
Do you know who wrote the 3rd book? Maye Musk, Elon Musk’s mother. However, the first book is the most important one.
We have to learn about Elon Musks’ habits, what he studied, and which habit made him successful.
In an interview, Elon Musk’s ex-wife “Talulah Riley” said that Elon Musk is obsessed with everything he does, and he never quits until he succeeds. When SpaceX failed to reach orbit, SpaceX was on the verge of bankruptcy, Elon did not quit. He tried again to send a rocket to space and succeeded. Therefore, we have to be obsessed with whatever we want to achieve in our life until we become successful.
Be persistent with your work. Try harder whatever you want to achieve. Make the best product that gives the best user experience. Make a product that the user loves and craves.
For example, before Tesla, all cars were almost the same with slight design variation. We never saw mind-blowing innovation in the car industry. However, Elon Musk made the best car money can buy. Tesla’s are electric, fast, beautiful, and have the world’s best technology.
Read a lot of Books:
If you want to be like Elon Musk, you have to read a lot of books. He read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica at age nine. The question is, why did he read Encyclopedia Britannica at age nine? It’s because he read every book he could find, and there was nothing left to read; that’s why he read the Encyclopedia.
Elon Musk also learned everything about rocket science by only reading books. In numerous interviews, Elon Musk expressed his dislike for formal education in schools and universities. According to him, all the information required to be successful is already available in books and on the internet. According to Elon Musk, universities are a waste of time unless you want a certificate to get a job.
Therefore, you have to read a lot and gather various types of knowledge.
80 hours work week:
Frequently we hear people say the future is four days work week. However, in multiple interviews, Elon noted that hard and long work hours are mandatory to be successful. For example, if your peer works 40 hours a week, and you work 80 hours a week, you will achieve double the same week than your peers.
During the Tesla Model 3 ramp-up hellish months, Elon Musk not only worked more than 80 hours per week, but he also slept on the factory floor.
One more thing I want to clear up. Most people who spend 40 hours in the office do not work for those 40 hours. They waste a lot of time. Therefore, 80 hours of work means zero hours of gossiping or doing office politics.
Think like a physicist:
In an interview, Elon Musk said that he suggests studying physics if anyone asks him about education. It’s the knowledge about how the universe works. If anything makes sense, do it. Don’t let people discourage you.
You also need to learn about money. How money works and how a business works. Without this knowledge, even if someone gives you a lot of money, you won’t be able to keep it, let alone grow it.
Before we proceed, I want to mention that Elon Musk has a double bachelor’s degree in Physics and Economics.
When Elon started SpaceX, rockets were costly. He wanted to make a reusable rocket. Everyone at that time said it’s impossible. However, SpaceX showed the world that it’s possible.
The cost of a 1 kg payload to orbit was around $10,000 before SpaceX. However, now because of SpaceX’s reusable Falcon 9 rocket, it costs only $2,000/kg to send a payload to orbit.
Work for humanity:
Elon Musk always does things to help people. According to him, if you make a product that helps people, it will make you money. We have to make something that a lot of people want.
According to Elon Musk, “starting a business is like eating glass and staring into the abyss.” The “eating glass” part means working on the challenging problems that the company needs to solve, which have been passed up to you because no one can solve them. He says being CEO is like having all the challenging problems funneled to you. The “abyss” part means you are unsure if the company will survive and where your company revenue will come from.
Innovate instead of complaining:
Elon Musk innovates instead of complaining. In 2002, he found that rockets were costly. All the rocket companies were using expendable rockets. So, instead, he started SpaceX.
No car company was making fast, beautiful electric cars. That’s why he formed Tesla.
There was no fast internet in rural areas. So, he started Starlink.
He came up with a tunneling company, ‘Boring Company,’ when he was sitting in LA traffic.
As we can see, Elon faces a problem; he immediately starts to solve the problem instead of complaining about it to others. We also have to be like him if we want success in our life.
Elon Musk has a photographic memory. In multiple interviews, Elon Musk confirmed it. Elon Musk can read something once and remember everything later without any problem. Not everyone has this gift. For example, I can’t memorize anything. If you have the talent, then definitely you are lucky.
However, according to Elon Musk, one can overcome this. Nowadays, you don’t need to memorize things. You can find anything on Google. Elon suggests using it.
Be a visionary:
According to Elon Musk, you need a vision and an urge to fulfill that vision. Elon from his childhood wanted to make an electric car company. Not because of the environmental issue but for the greater good of humanity.
According to Elon, when he learned that we only have oil reserves for 50 years, he immediately thought about renewable energy. That’s why he studied physics and went to Stanford to study supercapacitors for energy storage.
At the early age of the internet, Elon had a vision for online payment. That’s why he created X.com, which is currently known as PayPal.
Elon had the vision to provide the internet to everyone in this world. That’s why he created Starlink.
Therefore, you have to dream and also work to make your dream a reality.
Read books that Elon Musk likes:
As we said earlier, Elon Musk reads a lot. Here are a few of Elon’s favorite books:
- ‘The Lord of the Rings‘ by J.R.R. Tolkien
- ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy‘ by Douglas Adams
- ‘Benjamin Franklin: An American Life‘ by Walter Isaacson
- ‘Einstein: His Life and Universe‘ by Walter Isaacson
- ‘Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down‘ by J.E. Gordon
- ‘Ignition!: An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants‘ by John D. Clark
- ‘Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies‘ by Nick Bostrom
- ‘Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future‘ by Peter Thiel
Watch Elon’s favorite movies:
We know Elon Musk is also known as Meme Lord. It’s because he is the master of sarcasm and meme. He has an acute sense of humor. The followings are Elon’s favorite movies:
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
- The Martian
- Iron Man
- Thank You for Smoking
Elon Musk is a South African born US citizen. At the age of 17, he decided to come to America. It’s because he found that all the innovation was happening in America.
America has a great culture to support innovative people. If you are not in the US, try your best to come to America. It is your best bet to become successful. However, if you can’t, try your best to go where the probability of success is more significant than your current location.
Hire slow fire fast:
Elon Musk is not a people pleaser. He will hire only those who can accomplish a goal. If he finds that the person he hired is incapable of effectively doing his or her job, Elon will not hesitate to fire them. That’s why the turn around in SpaceX and Tesla is so high.
If you don’t follow this rule, you will end up with incapable people who will drag down your company’s progress. Elon Musk calls them Bozos.
In summary, Elon Musk’s success formula:
- Set a goal that is just outside your current level maximum.
- Set a challenging deadline.
- Devise an algorithm to achieve the goal.
- Most importantly, show up and do the work.
Elon Musk has an impressive vision, ability to execute, and the ability to withstand a lot of pain and pressure. He is a genius. It’s doubtful that we will become the next Elon Musk, but we can get inspired by his work and work ethic.