The Philosophy Of Elon Musk Success

The tech giant Elon Musk, inventor, founder, engineer and physicist. Many people see Elon as a genius that came to the spotlight in the last 20 years as an unstoppable force with successful companies he found during his life. There is no dought that his reputation proceeds him, with his success and innovation in cars, space, technology and tunnels. Elon Philosophy possesses a strong mindset that can be applied by anyone seeking success in their professional lives.

Elon Musk is a successful entrepreneur and a genius who has changed many industries. However, if we define him more simplistically, Elon Musk is both physicist and Engineer driven by a sense of mission to take the world to a more sustainable source of energy and provide a platform for humans to become a multi-planetary species.

In order to understand his philosophy, we need to take a look at his early life to start unravelling his way of thinking.

Short snapshot of Elon life

Born in South Africa in 1971, his mother, Maye Musk, is a famous Canadian model, and his father is a wealthy South African engineer. Elon spent most of his early childhood with his older brother Kimbal and his sister Tosca after his parent’s divorce when he was 10. Ever since he was young, Elon used to wonder with his thoughts that even made his family think that his deaf, but the truth is his head was exploding with ideas.

Elon moved to Canada in 1989 to avoid the mandatory south African military service and became a Canadian citizen that year. Later he moved to the USA in 1992 and became a US citizen in 2002. His move to the US in 1992 could not be any better when the .com bubble exploded, and Elon went to find his first company, Zip2, with his brother Kimbal.

Elon became a multi-millionaire after selling Zip2, which later he used the money to start his second company which later led to creating Paypal that we all know and love. In 2002 he sold Paypal to eBay for $1.5 Billion, making him one of the successful entrepreneurs in the .com bubble which he successfully established his presence in the tech industry.

From this quick snapshot, we can learn that Elon is no different from any other entrepreneurs during that time. He wanted to be involved in technology but could not find a job, which prompted him to start his own.

Elon Musk is extremely passionate about technology, science and engineering

After that, he went to find SpaceX in 2002, which became well established after 2008 and later brought exponential innovation in rocket science with its Falcon 9 rockets in 2017 after its successful landing, which opened the possibilities of more affordable space travel. SpaceX has won a contract from NASA to send cargo and astronauts to the international space station and has future plans of landing on Mars in late 2026.

Elon co-founded Tesla Motors in 2003, which distributed the Auto industry with its electric vehicle, the Roadstar. Today Tesla has established its presence with a wide range of vehicles: Model S, Model 3, Model Y, the Semi and the Cyber truck. Elon also went to find the Boring Company in 2017, a company dedicated to boring and tunnel building. Moreover, Elon’s interest in technology made him a co-chair of OpenAI, a non-profit organisation devoted to imporve digital technologies.

What makes Elon Musk successful?

Never Give up

What inspiring about Elon Musk is that he never gives up. 2008 was the worst year Elon had ever been through. Both Tesla and SpaceX were not doing so well. SpaceX had a third failure of exploding a prototype rocket in mid-air. Tesla had manufacturing issues and was spending resources on the development that was not going anywhere without funding. Elon Musk had the choice of either putting all his fortune in one company to save and let the other fail or distributing his assets into the two companies and still running the risk of losing both. Elon chose the latter and decided to save both companies.

On September 28, 2008, SpaceX launched its last prototype, which succeeded in going to orbit. However, success would mean nothing if SpaceX does not receive funding. On December 23, NASA awarded SpaceX a $1.6 Billion contract to resupply the space station, saving SpaceX from an imminent shutdown.

Tesla, on the other hand, was facing bankruptcy. Elon managed to secure $90 Million in funding from himself, other investors, and Daimler Automotive, which saved his company from bankruptcy, making Tesla the second Car company in US history that did not go into bankruptcy after Ford.

Elon Musk never gave up, which made him fight to save his companies by risking everything, even his personal assets.

Driven by a purpose

If you watched Elon public appearances and interviews, you would realise that he is a very mission-driven individual. His mission to accelerate the transition into more sustainable energy and make humans a multi-planetary species has pushed Elon to do the impossible and work hard to achieve it. His mission is always the reason why he does anything.

His character makes for a fantastic CEO as it easily made him an investor magnet. Everyone wants to invest in Musk companies which made Tesla one of the most valuable S&P 500 companies along with Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Alphabet – The same company that was facing bankruptcy in 2008 is an extraordinary transformation in just 10 years.

His purpose of changing the world has served Elon well and made the world give him more attention. He even made a room full of Oil Giants feel the need to transition to more sustainable energy solutions.

Elon Musk is a huge risk-taker

It is no surprise that someone who runs all these companies is a huge risk-taker. His sense of mission and the way he conducts business are extremely unapologetic and devoted to what is right for the earth, not for the economy. This attitude of acting against the crowd made him a huge risk-taker in the eyes of many people. However, for Elon, he is only doing what seems to be right.

If you study the reasons behind his strive to accelerate into sustainable energy, you will find that we are at a huge risk of over-reliance on digging energy resources from the ground that is becoming harder and harder to extract every year. We are essentially running the risk of extracting all the fossil fuel resources with no backup plan.

What many people are ignorant of seems a huge risk to someone like Elon, and what seems a business risk to many investors is the right thing to do from Elon’s perspective. It really depends on how you look at things but going with the crowd is not always right, and that is one of Elon’s Philosophies for success.

When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.

Elon Musk

No off days

There is no doubt that Elon Musk is a genius and has a substantially high IQ, yet there is more to his success than what meets the eye: he works harder than anyone. Elon has a famous saying that if you work more than the next person, you can achieve in four months what it takes them a year to achieve.

His Entrepreneurial way of thinking had inspired him to make a company such as SpaceX. Although he does not have a background in aerospace engineering yet when he was asked how he did it, he would say that he read books and talked to smart people.

This hard-working no off days philosophy is extremely common among many entrepreneurs such as bill gates or steve jobs. They were all university dropouts, yet they invested their time to learn to do what they liked. Their hard work came from their passion for doing things, and they succeeded because they worked extremely hard.

The Bottom Line

Not everything can be measured by IQ level; there are mindsets that dictate your actions. Elon Musk is one of those people who know how to leverage both his IQ and his success philosophy to achieve the impossible. There are many attributes that you can learn from Elon Musk, but fundamentally his recipe for success are those:

  1. Never gives up even if the odds are not in your favour
  2. Find a strong sense of purpose that makes you wake up in the morning
  3. Take action for the things you want even if it seems risky to others
  4. Work harder than the next person; the hard work will pay off eventually

When you take his philosophy and simplify it, you can realise that it is extremely replicable by many. It only takes a strong mindset to apply and commit to your goals. You do not have to be a genius to do something extraordinary. It is the commitment that makes all the difference.

Joseph Maloyan

Hi, this is Joseph, and I love writing about engineering and technology. Here I share my knowledge and experience on what it means to be an engineer. My goal is to make engineering relatable, understandable and fun!

Recent Posts