5 Things I learned from Reading Elon Musk’s Biography

It’s not striking me very often to be so impressed with a human being. But man, this guy is something else.

Yes, I’m talking about Elon Musk, yes THE Elon Musk. You know, the billionaire, the guy who has disrupted three huge industries (so far).

The man who has managed to change the way we look at cars, space, and energy possibly forever.

I finished Elon Musk’s biography a few days ago, so I decided to write this post, analyzing a bit which are the characteristics that separate him from the rest of the humanity – (according to my understanding).

You see, Elon Musk wasn’t coming from a poor or a wealthy family. They were a bit above average people I’d say. Neither he was gifted with more brains cells than the rest of us.

So how in the name of the dollar, he made it to the top, in such a short period?

According to me, these are the key factors that bring him apart.

Having a vision is mandatory

Although his vision about conquering Mars wasn’t crystal clear in his childhood, none the less, he was crazy about technology and space as a kid. He coded his first application (a video game) at the age of 12, and from then he never stopped being involved with technology.

By reading his biography, the “visionary” aspect of his character stroked me the most. I mean, this guy is dead serious about what he wants to achieve in life, and he won’t stop unless he accomplishes it.

Whether it’s about creating a very affordable electric car for the masses, or replacing every roof top with a solar one, or even colonizing Mars, his purpose (life plan) is vividly clear with everything he does.

Achieving all these goals (in a single lifetime) is what gets him started in the morning and the flame that burns inside him throughout the day.

Actionable advice

After reading this paragraph, pause your reading and spend a few minutes thinking about your purpose in life.

Why do you think your mother gave birth to you? Watching soap operas all day long? Accusing the government, the God or luck for not making it in life? Die poor, broken and miserable?

Or maybe to take full responsibility, improve day by day, find your long term purpose in life, and work tirelessly to achieve it?

Being very (very) rational helps a lot

When it comes to business, Elon Musk is presented to be a hyper-rational creature, which makes every decision based on some mathematical formula. There’s no room for emotional decisions when it comes to shaping the future of humanity.

He even went cold turkey when he fired his loyal personal secretary he had for ten years, because as he said, “she went soft.”

Well, I’ve said times and again, that emotions are a powerful hardwired mechanism, which is there to help us make fast and optimal decisions (in a jungle environment).

Unfortunately, bad social conditioning has ruined this ancient device that badly that most of the decisions we make based on emotions these days are crap.

Surely enough, Elon Musk seems to get that, so when it comes to business, all his decisions appear to be based on pure, cold logic. If the ROI is positive and it services his long-term plan, he’ll do it. Otherwise, he’ll ditch it all together.

Actionable advice

Actually…read the last paragraph again.

Even ultra-successful men can suck in romance

Okay, this isn’t exactly a trait that makes Elon Musk great, more like an average guy I’d say. But it had a profound impact on me, and it’s such a great antithesis with his overall image that I had to share.

Although Musk appears to be very rigid, rational and unbroken about his business mentality, he seems to suck when it comes to social relationships. And especially his romantic ones.

He’s married twice so far, divorced with both of them, remarried his second wife, and paying a huge alimony to his first *sweetheart*.

I can hardly imagine how someone could suck worse than that. He even admits that he proposed to his second wife in a matter of days.

Come on man. How is it possible a man with sky-high levels of rationality commit such crimes when it comes to his personal life. I guess we can’t have it all, can we?

Actionable advice

Whatever you do, stay calm and rational even when it comes to the ladies. I know sex and love are huge driving forces, but social conditioning ruins us all equally in all pillars.

We get fucked up relatively early, in every aspect. Why someone would want to marry is beyond me, but even if you do want to take such a significant risk, at least, give it some time to sink in.

Base your decision on a few rational criteria, like for example if your future wife is very healthy, has all the potential to become a devoted and skillful mother, is submissive enough, etc.

Don’t let your emotional male brain drive you into traps. Take a breath, think logically like in business. Is the ROI of this relationship positive? Is she helping me reach my life plan? If yes then proceed. If no, give her the shaft, there are plenty of capable ladies out there to replace her.

You can’t afford to play it “safe”

This guy is such a risk taker, that I believe if he’s not about to go bankrupt now and then he’s bored with his life. All jokes aside, risk taking is the single most important characteristic of every successful man, I’ve studied in the last couple of years.

There’s not a single case of a man who created extreme wealth and greatness, who didn’t take massive risks. From John D. Rockefeller to Andrew Carnegie, and from Richard Branson to Elon Musk, all these people found themselves at least a few times on the verge of destruction.

Whenever they needed to take the next significant step, they had a fantastic skill and a network of people who could leverage to raise massive amounts of capital and influence.

But their risk taking isn’t only confined to taking huge financial risks; it’s about everything in business. They got it done, no matter how risky or dangerous it seems.

I believe it has mainly to do with the way they manage their fears. Somehow their vision and glory overshadow their fear. And they march ahead.

Actionable advice

Well to be completely honest, I don’t consider myself capable of giving reliable guidance on risk taking. When it comes to big risks, I’m hesitant (a polite word for coward) myself. I believe that the more self-confidence someone builds, the more and greater risks he can take.

So far, what I try to do, is push my comfort zone little by little, day by day. The more wins I have, the more confident I become. The more confident I become, the bigger risks, I’ll be willing to take.

Some of your time can be un-productive (about 5%)

Even Elon Musk has downtime. Time he needs to decompress. Time he needs to recharge with positive emotions. Playing with his children is one of them. Among his favorite vices is to play video games (mine as well).

But because he knows, that video games are an utterly useless indulgence, he confines it to only less than an hour per day, if that.

For every man, this can be his own vice. Un-productive or not, we all need some time to decompress. Of course the less, the better. Remember we need to be producers, not consumers.

Actionable advice

Try to minimize your un-productive, leisure time to a minimum. We’re not robots I get it. But no matter what, the completely un-productive time should not exceed 5% to 10% of our daily time under no circumstances.

Also, make sure to get a lot of pleasure from this. Making something useless and half-fun is twice as stupid.

PS. I wish Elon Musk could read the third point (and understand it).