6 Life-Changing Lessons, Advice From Elon Musk

What is Elon Musk’s point of view?

That’s what I set out to learn while examining the practises that led to his incredible success. Musk is, without a doubt, the most astounding human being alive today. Here’s his track record to back it up:

Oh, and he’s one of only two persons in the world to have founded three billion-dollar businesses. It’s not awful.

The odd aspect is that he doesn’t seem to mind that he’s worth billions of dollars. He resents journalists who inquire about him. He wants them to ask about the more significant global issues he’s attempting to resolve. He isn’t concerned with his survival; instead, he is concerned with the survival of humanity — renewable energy, clean transportation, and interplanetary space travel.

What does he think about it? What mental frames does he have? What is it that makes him tick? I went through thousands of interviews to figure out his six most essential teachings… and put them into workouts that could be done.

These teachings (and the activities that go with them) have completely transformed my life.

Advice from Elon Musk

  • Seek out feedback.
  • Existing beliefs should be questioned.
  • Concentrate your efforts.
  • Make a contingency plan.
  • Failure is an excellent thing to practise.
  • Have a significant influence

Completing the activities below, which are based on Elon Musk’s psychology, may alter your life as well.

To follow along with the lessons, use the following links to access the exercises:

To get the Google Docs and Evernote worksheets, go here.

1st Lesson: Seek out feedback.

Criticism is similar to physical activity. It isn’t easy at the beginning. However, it gradually transforms us into healthier individuals, with several long-term advantages. Compliments provide happiness, but criticism leads to growth.

And you can’t be satisfied when your objective for SpaceX is “interplanetary co-existence”, and Tesla’s purpose is “transforming sustainable energy for mankind” (yep, those are Elon Musk’s words). Consider the following scenario:

“I didn’t want to hear what was wrong with the Tesla Model S when I spoke with someone about it. I’d like to know what’s wrong with the vehicle.

When my pals receive a product, I ask them not to tell me what they think of it. Please tell me what you don’t like instead. And after I’ve asked that question a few times, folks will begin to say to me without my having to ask the question every time.”

“You should assume that you are incorrect. Your objective is to make fewer mistakes.”

– Tesla CEO Elon Musk

Steps to Take:

1. Make a list of five persons who would be brutally honest in their critique of you. Your employees, direct manager, significant other, close friends, or even your parents might be involved.

2. Contact them through phone, text, or email and inquire about one area that needs to be addressed. Encourage frankness at all costs. This is how one of my five people and I had a conversation:

“Hey Tim, so…,” I say. This may come out as strange. And that may be a little awkward for you, but if you’re willing, I’d appreciate your assistance with anything.”

“Uhhh…,” Tim says. sure? “Is everything in order?”

“Yeah, everything’s OK,” I say. What is it about what I do that irritates you? Or is there something you believe I might improve on? And I’d want to hear your brutally honest thoughts. Don’t be stingy with your words. It won’t hurt my emotions if you believe it will. And don’t worry if you don’t have a response right now. Just give it some thought, and I’ll get back to you.”

“Hmm, that’s an intriguing question,” Tim says. “Give me a minute to think about it…”

Allowing people to ponder the subject has always resulted in better feedback as they consider it more thoroughly. This is how I would go about it.

2nd Lesson: Reality should be questioned (by understanding the fundamentals)

“You can’t address problems with the same mindset that created them,” Einstein observed. Musk couldn’t be more in agreement.

People have stated, for example, that battery packs would always be expensive because they are expensive to manufacture. However, Musk understood that by breaking down batteries into their essential components (cobalt, nickel, aluminium, carbon, polymers, and a steel container) and building your batteries, prices might be drastically reduced.

Tesla Energy, or innovative energy storage for sustainable homes and companies, was born. Musk built home energy storage that drives significant change by disrupting the current quo.

The majority of us aren’t causing significant changes in energy use. So, what does this mean for the rest of us? Expressed, it implies challenging someone (or oneself) when they claim, “That’s simply the way it is and always has been.”

Make a change to the status quo. Pose difficult questions. Investigate the essential realities at the root of your problems. Make “why” your favourite question to ask to learn more about how things function in the real world.

“Reduce everything to the most basic truths. Then work your way up from there.”

– Tesla CEO Elon Musk

Steps to Take:

1. Make a list of your current most significant difficulty, whether it’s personal or professional.

2. Break the problem down into its simplest components.

If you’re having trouble acquiring consumers, for example, consider the reasons why. Find out where they could come from, such as referrals, inbound marketing, paid ads, and word-of-mouth, and then look into the inputs for each channel. Continue looking at inputs until you find the essential components.

3. How might each of those smaller components be enhanced, modified, or done altogether differently after knowing the core inputs? Start with the fundamentals and work your way backwards from there.

3rd Lesson: Prioritize the signal over the noise.

Elon Musk isn’t the only billionaire who believes in the importance of concentration. Warren Buffet has an infamous “do-not-do” list. “Deciding what not to do is as crucial as deciding what to do,” Steve Jobs lectured constantly. “I will not accept ANY concept until it helps Facebook raise the overall number of people,” Mark Zuckerberg allegedly remarked, according to Noah Kagan, Facebook employee #30.

Musk is a firm believer in the same concepts. Except he won’t consider any ideas related to product development. Many corporations, for example, spend more money on marketing than on engineering. Musk would instead advertise a great product in a subtle way than promote a poor one to death:

“We’ve never spent any money on advertising at Tesla.” To make the most significant automobile possible, we’ve invested all we have into R&D, engineering, design, and manufacture. When we think about spending money, we question ourselves, “Will this result in a better product?” If that’s the case, we won’t spend the money.”

This is what Stephen Covey refers to as “putting first things first.” Concentrate on what’s essential and dismiss the rest.

“Will the outcome of this effort by a better product? If not, put an end to your efforts.”

– Tesla CEO Elon Musk

Steps to Take:

1. Make a list of 20 objectives for the coming year.

2. Narrow the list down to five objectives. It’s pretty tricky to narrow things down, but you’ll see speedy results once you do.

The Extra Mile: Peter Thiel, Elon Musk’s PayPal co-founder, recommended that instead of five goals, one should be set. He refers to this idea as “the one thing.”

4th Lesson: Make failure a possibility (by defining a contingency plan)

Fear, I believe, is the root of inactivity—fear of failure, in particular. We don’t apply for jobs we want because we’re worried we won’t get them (which makes us feel crappy about ourselves). We are terrified of saying anything dumb if we approach the gorgeous individual across the room. We don’t start a business because we’re frightened of squandering our resources and failing.

A failure is a feasible option when launching a firm with an interplanetary exploration mission. Instead of throwing up the towel, Elon Musk foresaw disaster and devised a SpaceX backup plan:

“If we don’t succeed in launching the first SpaceX rocket by the time we’ve spent $100 million, we’ll shut down the firm.” That’ll be enough for three launch attempts.”

What went wrong with the initial launch? It was a $30 million failure. The second, despite spending $60 million, was a flop. SpaceX launched successfully on its third and final try. NASA awarded this company a $1.6 billion contract for 12 resupply trips to the International Space Station. Elon Musk, you’ve done a fantastic job.

Was Elon Musk frightened of failing? Absolutely. But did he devise a strategy to deal with the possibility of failure? Yes. And it was for this reason that he launched rockets into space.

“Here, failure is an option. You are not inventing enough if things aren’t falling.”

– Tesla CEO Elon Musk

Steps to Take:

1. Is there a project you’ve been intending to start but haven’t yet? All you have to do now is “You’ve convinced yourself that you’re not good enough, or you don’t have time. Make a list of projects that you “really need to complete someday.”

One of my modest initiatives, for example, has been to set up an eCommerce site using Shopify and sell t-shirts. It’s not a big deal, and there’s not much at stake, but the fear of failing has been holding me back. What if it doesn’t work out, and you’ve squandered your time?

2. Make a list of the worst-case scenario.

The worst-case scenario for me is that no one (not even my mother) buys a t-shirt, and I wind up squandering money and effort designing and producing t-shirts.

3. Break that into ten smaller portions based on the worst-case scenario. Remove the issues over which you have no control.

4. Make a backup plan for each situation you have control over.

In the case of my hypothetical t-shirt firm, I could utilize a service like Teespring to save prices and keep my overhead low. If t-shirts don’t sell, try other clothing, such as jogging trousers (which are hot right now) and tank tops (hello summer). I’m thinking of starting a t-shirt line right now.

5th Lesson: Get rid of your anxieties (by living the worst-case scenario)

We might still be fearful after identifying worst-case scenarios and addressing remedies to probable difficulties (i.e. a contingency plan). The most effective technique to overcome fear is to put yourself in that terrifying position and inquire how you feel.

For example, when Elon Musk was 17 years old and decided to be an entrepreneur, he pushed himself to live on $1 a day (the typical struggle of an entrepreneur). He mainly ate hot dogs and oranges at the time.

It wasn’t because Elon was destitute that he did it. He did it to determine if he had what it took to be a successful business owner. And because the trial was a success, he knew that money would not be an issue.

Musk proved he could accomplish it by experimenting with a lower income. This prompted him to start his own business.

“I reasoned that if I could survive on a dollar a day, it would be rather simple to make $30 each month, at least in terms of food.”

– Tesla CEO Elon Musk

Steps to Take:

1. Consider how you might be able to recreate the worst-case situation from lesson #4. Assume you’re now experiencing the worst-case problem. Make a mental note of how it might feel… and write everything out in minute detail. How does it make you feel? Describe how you’re feeling.

2. If you think you’ll be able to go through your worst-case situation (after thinking how it feels), try it out in real life.

My most considerable anxiety when I was hired by HubSpot and prepared to relocate my life from Southern California to Boston was being in a new place where I knew no one. As I purchased my one-way plane ticket and packed my life into one bag, that sensation of loneliness made me scared.

“How would I meet new people in Boston?” you might wonder. By striking up conversations with strangers. “What if they refuse to speak with me?” Then move on to the following individual. In principle, it appears to be simple. Nonetheless, I was terrified.

During the weeks running up to my travel, I decided to put myself to the test. Even though I was still in my hometown, I made an effort to engage with strangers. I would strike up small chats whether I was in a coffee shop or eating alone, and while some talks led nowhere, others turned into delightful conversations.

Sure, I was worried when I arrived in Boston, but I knew what to do.

6th Lesson: Solve Issues That Aren’t Your Own

Many of us (including myself) are focused on finding an enjoyable, secure, and challenging career. We inquire about the pay, concerning the advantages. And then there’s the culture. But are we wondering if our efforts have a global impact? Are we utilizing today to solve challenges for tomorrow? Are we thinking ahead?

“What are some of the best ways I can generate money?” Elon Musk didn’t ask himself. Instead, as he walked away from PayPal, he pondered, “What are some of the issues that are likely to have an impact on humanity’s future?”

In interviews, Musk never discusses profit. He talks about SpaceX’s objective of making humanity a multi-planetary species, as well as Tesla’s goal of hastening the world’s transition to electric vehicles.

He solves challenges to better the globe, not just his own.

“If something is essential enough, you should do it even if the odds are stacked against you.”

– Tesla CEO Elon Musk

Steps to Take:

1. Make a list of the projects you’re currently working on.

2. Ask yourself, “Am I tackling an issue that is bigger than me?” If not, make a list of the steps you’ll need to do to get to that point.

A Sincere Observation

Will I ever find the next Tesla, SpaceX, or any firm that has the potential to change the world? To be honest, I doubt it. I’ll use Elon Musk’s conceptual frameworks to better my life regularly.

When someone compliments me, I always ask how I might improve. I’ll break it down into its essential components when faced with a difficult task. When I’m distracted, I’ll recall that all millionaires have one thing in common: attention. I won’t be frightened of failing since I will make it a possibility (and live it). Finally, as my life continues, I’ll continue to test my existence by evaluating global issues and what I can do to aid.

Encourage others to criticize you. Examine the foundations. Concentrate on activities with a high return on investment. I’m going to push myself to fail. Push me past my comfort zone. But, most crucially, tackle challenges that are larger than mine.

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