Top 10 Elon Musk Success Secrets

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Top 10 Elon Musk Success Secrets

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
This celebrity entrepreneur knows a thing or two about success. For this list, we're looking at how Elon has managed to build his galaxy-spanning business empire. Our countdown includes Optimize Your Time, Keep Learning, Take Risks, and more!
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Top 10 Elon Musk Success Secrets


Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 Elon Musk success secrets.

For this list, we’re looking at how Elon has managed to build his galaxy-spanning business empire.

Let us know in the comments which of these tips you’ll be taking on board.

#10: Optimize Your Time


Leading so many different companies means you’ve got to manage your time extremely effectively, and Elon has a specific method called “timeboxing” to ensure he stays on top of things. This means that instead of making a to-do list of various tasks that need to be completed, he gives himself allotted amounts of time in which to do things, which enables more efficient planning. You’ll start the day thinking about exactly how much time it takes to complete a task, and it removes the leeway you might otherwise have to get stuck procrastinating. He also makes sure to prioritize - an organizational tip that anybody can use, whether they manage a dozen companies or none at all.

#9: Do Good


When you get down to brass tacks, Musk’s companies have altruistic goals at heart. SpaceX wants to forge a new home for humanity in the stars, while Tesla wants to remove our dependence on gasoline and other fossil fuels. If you always aim to do good and help people in all your endeavors, you can’t go too wrong. This applies to ventures both big and small: not everybody can start a company that builds rockets to take us into outer space, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t all work for the betterment of humankind. After all, Tesla’s namesake is Nikola Tesla, the scientist who wanted to bring safe electricity to the masses; that’s a legacy anybody would be proud to share.

#8: Don’t Fear Failure


It’s only natural to be afraid of doing something wrong and falling flat on your face. But in order to one day be successful, you need to embrace failure. Instead of seeing a failure as a disaster that can’t be recovered from, see it as a learning experience: each time you fail, you acquire more and more tools that will help you to succeed. It’s true what they say: “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again”. SpaceX has had many high-profile failures over the years, but that doesn’t mean the entire company has closed down in shame. No, it just means that Musk and the many expert scientists and engineers who work for him keep trying.

#7: Take Risks


Once you’ve overcome your fear of failure, you’ll be unstoppable and able to take big risks in order to get where you want to be. Musk has specifically cited his willingness to take risks over the years as the key to becoming the man he is today. He says that the bigger a company grows and the more people are accountable if something goes wrong, the harder it gets to take those kinds of gambles: so make them early and make them bold. Start that small business you think has the potential for success; begin working on the novel you’ve always dreamed about; take up a hobby or sport you’ve always wanted to try!

#6: Make Room to Grow

Musk is perhaps the most famous entrepreneur to demonstrate something called a “growth mindset”, as opposed to a “fixed mindset”. Essentially, this means believing that you can learn new skills and further develop existing ones. It allows for innovation and improvement but also flexibility when a plan doesn’t work out and needs to be changed. These are opportunities to grow yourself and your projects, and that’s what having a growth mindset is all about. Be free and always looking for new opportunities, even if they’re not the ones you expect.

#5: Communication

It’s true that communication is always key. How would people get anything done if they didn’t communicate with one another? But Elon Musk has his own methods of communication with his employees that set a high standard. In 2017 an internal Tesla email was released that exemplified Musk’s philosophies on communication, as he aimed to cut out the middlemen and let different departments talk to each other directly rather than going between managers. This means that problems will get solved faster and more efficiently, which is good for any company. He’s also, of course, great at communicating with the public, too, talking about his ideas and opening them up to public criticism.

#4: Feedback


Speaking of opening up ideas to public criticism, Musk has always been vocal about the necessity of feedback to make any business or idea work. He’s often asked Twitter for opinions on how to tackle various issues - for better or for worse - but has been outspoken on the value of both positive and negative feedback. In past interviews, he’s talked about this “feedback loop” and has emphasized that you need to listen to the critics, too. It’s certainly tempting to ignore negativity and only take on board the criticisms and compliments you already agree with, but doing this won’t serve you well in the long run. Listening to others is always going to help.

#3: Keep Learning


This is one tip that applies to absolutely everybody. You should always keep trying to learn new things about the world and your place in it. Elon has always been outspoken about this, often putting out reading lists of books that changed his life and which might change yours, too. He’s also talked about how you don’t need college or a school to keep learning; official education is, of course, invaluable, but reading books that interest you, watching documentaries you’d otherwise ignore, and even just listening to people with different perspectives are perhaps just as important. Develop and nurture an insatiable hunger for knowledge.

#2: Aim High


If there’s one word that defines Elon Musk above all else, it’s “ambitious”. No matter what you think of his ideas, you can’t say they’re not aiming high - literally, in the case of SpaceX. The lesson here is not to limit yourself: as the influential thinker Norman Vincent Peale said, aim for the moon, and even if you miss it you’ll land among the stars. Aiming high means that even when you don’t reach those goals, you’re still going to accomplish something pretty phenomenal. It’s likely that SpaceX will someday reach Mars, but even if it doesn’t, look at all the wild successes the company has already had building state-of-the-art rockets. Set goals higher than the result you’ll be happy with.

#1: Be Passionate


Elon has said time and time again that he doesn’t care about money; his wealth is all tied up in Tesla stock, meaning that if Tesla goes under, so does he. He’s not in this business for the profits, he’s there because he’s extremely passionate about clean energy and space exploration and wants to make the dreams of abolishing fossil fuels and living on Mars realities. Maybe you’re not as passionate about Mars as Elon: that’s fine! Everybody loves and cares about different things. What’s important is that you follow your heart, pursuing careers and hobbies that you’re truly invested in. Passion is what drives Elon Musk towards his successes.
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