How Elon Musk Learns 10X Faster Than Anyone

How Elon Musk Learns 10X Faster Than Anyone: SpaceX, Tesla, The Boring Company, and Neuralink. Elon Musk, the mastermind behind these four multibillion-dollar company is considered the richest, smartest, and one of the most influential figures in human history.

But even so, one question that begs to ask is, how has one individual been able to learn so fast and build multiple multibillion-dollar companies in different complex fields and still be able to put in a brutal 85-hour workweek for his passion projects and businesses?

Born on June 28, 1971, in South Africa, Elon Musk is the entrepreneurial and visionary genius behind SpaceX, PayPal, Tesla Inc., SolarCity, OpenAI, The Boring Company, Neuralink, Zip2, and the envisioned high-speed Hyperloop from San Francisco to Los Angeles. And, the scary thing is that he’s just warming up.

Despite several comparisons to Apple’s brilliant creator Steve Jobs, South African-born entrepreneur Elon Musk’s alter ego Tony Stark has adhered to him like a super-powered exoskeleton.

Musk, interested in artificial general intelligence, electric automobiles, renewable energy, space travel, high-speed transit, and neurotechnology, is a classic example of a 3rd and 4th industrial revolutionist. He literally lives in the future.

Musk has shaken up three established industries, and who knows how many more are on the way. However, it is not entirely due to his smartness. Of course, he was probably born gifted, and according to those who know him, he definitely reads a lot, but Musk’s brilliance isn’t all down to innate talent and massive input of raw knowledge.

He has also learned how to learn. In a Reddit AMA, Musk was asked how he learns so much in such a short amount of time, and Musk responded that when people try to learn, they tend to sell themselves short.

He says, “I think most people can learn a lot more than they think they can. They sell themselves short without trying. One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree — make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details, or there is nothing for them to hang on to.”

Musk’s “semantic tree” concept is all about breaking down information into basic concepts so that you can establish a strong foundation for your learning. Musk has read widely to fulfill his hunger for knowledge since his adolescence, and developing a diversified and systematic reading habit is a beneficial learning approach for any aspiring generalist.

So, how can we approach a new subject? Basically, by following Musk’s two rules! Rule number one. Make sure you’re building a tree of knowledge. The tree of knowledge teaches the average entrepreneur that not all things are weighted equally.

There is a distinction between studying stuff that ends up dangling from a branch and learning material that makes up the foundation of your tree’s trunk. It is a battle between the periphery and the center.

Musk is an expert at figuring out what drives each of the industries in which his businesses operate. He begins there, making sure he has a firm hold on the “trunk” material before going on to the finer points of the branches and leaves.

On the contrary, many of us do the exact opposite. We memorize data about the periphery without never completely comprehending how or why they relate to the trunk. And as a result of this outward-facing-in approach, many of our brains are overburdened with misidentified and, ultimately, irrelevant information.

And that is not the same as learning. It’s cramming. Our efforts have resulted in a tree with a toothpick trunk and an overabundance of teeming branches that threaten to snap off as we try to squeeze one more concept or thought into our heads.

It may take a little longer at first, but you really won’t be able to support any further learning or skill without a strong trunk. However, the brilliance of Elon Musk’s learning strategy isn’t necessarily in his ability to understand central core concepts.

Many entrepreneurs over generations have had a firm grip on core tenets and principles over the centuries, but none have achieved the same level of success as Musk. If that’s the case, how can anyone grow like Musk?

And that brings us to the second rule. Rule number two. You can’t remember what you can’t connect. This is how Musk was able to cross industries and apparently revolutionize entire industries overnight.

He began with firm roots and sturdy trunks, and as his understanding grew, he began to link branches and leaves from other trees. Musk never picks up knowledge at random. He links what he takes into a deeper, more stable foundation.

The majority of today’s learners are stick collectors rather than expert gardeners. We go through life picking up tidbits here and there until our arms are overflowing with sticks.

And once we have a good bunch of sticks, we do what comes naturally whenever a pile of sticks is lying around. We burn them. We believe that the size of our flames is proportional to the amount of our learning.

However, we are slow to understand Elon Musk’s whole learning framework: flames burn out. Musk plants trees in rich soil that develop to be dense and plentiful learning centers. You can do the same as well. All you have to do is follow his two rules.

First, build the trunk, then labor diligently to connect the pieces. In the case of Elon Musk, he broke down the foundational principles he learned in artificial intelligence, technology, physics, and engineering and connected them into separate fields.

For instance, in order to create SpaceX, he employed fundamental aerospace concepts. Likewise, he created Tesla with self-driving features using automotive foundation principles and many more.

However, if you enjoy studying in a variety of areas, you’re probably familiar with the phrase: “Jack of all trades. Master of none.” The implied assumption is that you will only learn on the surface level if you study multiple areas and never actually master them.

And yet, Musk has repeatedly proved that it is not only possible but profitable to generalize. Learning across multiple fields provides an information advantage because most people focus on just one field.

For instance, if you work in the tech industry and everyone else is reading tech magazines, but you also know a lot about biology, you can come up with concepts that practically no one else can. And vice-versa.

If you are a biologist who also understands artificial intelligence, you have an advantage over others who stay in their boxes. However, despite this basic understanding, very few people actually learn outside of their field.

Each new field we study that others in our profession aren’t familiar with allows us to create combinations that others can’t. This is what the expert-generalist advantage is all about. Polymaths throughout history, like Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, and Nikola Tesla, have used their broad knowledge in innovative ways.

As a modern polymath, Elon Musk demonstrates how broad study across several fields of knowledge can provide an information advantage that feeds creativity. But what good is it if you are not curious to learn at all?

Elon Musk was “raised by books,” as he puts it. He loved them. Musk began reading the Encyclopedia Britannica at the age of nine and spent many hours each day reading science fiction novels. That’s indeed incredible for a child his age.

But, when you consider Elon Musk’s amazing achievements, it is no wonder that reading had a significant impact on his life and mindset as a child. Musk says, “The lesson I drew from the works of Isaac Asimov, science fiction writer, is you should try to take the set of actions that are likely to prolong civilization, minimize the probability of a dark age, and reduce the length of a dark age if there is one.”

When you improve your mentality in one area of your life, you will discover that you are more driven to achieve in other areas. For instance, reading a successful businessman’s autobiography may encourage you to think of new methods to grow your own company.

Reading a book by a well-known athlete may help you concentrate on your physical well-being. And lastly, reading a self-improvement book may motivate you to gain confidence and step outside of your comfort zone.

The key is to read about things that make you curious. Find books that inspire you to reach your full potential by challenging you to think in new ways. You can learn quicker and better than everyone else by reading whenever you get the chance and growing your knowledge like a towering tree that can be seen from afar. But, what’s the best way to get started, you may ask?

Well, implement techniques that will enhance your chances of realizing your goals. As Elon Musk once put it: “The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability will occur.”


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Information Source: Youtube – Futurephile

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