Whether he's breaking new ground in payment technology, space technology or changing the future of how we get from A to B, Elon Musk is always a trending 'topic'. At just 49 years old, he's CEO of a multi-billion dollar tech company, listed as the 7th richest person in the world and has a net worth of over $69 billion. Not to mention his 36.9 million Twitter followers. Born down the road in Pretoria, he's certainly made a name for himself. But how did he become so successful? What is the so-called 'Elon Musk Effect'? Discover a few of his secrets to success below...
What is the 'Elon Musk Effect'?
The term has been bandied around a lot lately, but what does it mean? In some circles, it applies purely to success and productivity. As in, 'how to get as much done as Elon Musk'. In others, like in the world of stocks and trading, it applies to the effect Elon and his companies' success has on the market. Recently, the 'Elon Effect' was seen when Tesla stocks soared, encouraging a stronger belief in the viability of self-driving cars. The idea was that if Elon's enterprises were doing well, so then could other similar innovative tech companies. The success of Tesla's stocks had a knock-on effect into other electric vehicle stocks like Nikola and Nio.
Elon grew up in Pretoria with his mother (Maye) and father, and his two younger siblings. It wasn't an easy childhood and there are claims that his father was emotionally abusive. His parents divorced when Elon was still quite young. Elon attended Waterkloof House and Pretoria Boys High School and was known for being a bookworm and computer whiz. At 17, he moved to Canada where he gained citizenship and spent two years at university. He finished his varsity years in the US, where he studied physics and economics. Today, he has 7 children from 3 relationships and lives in California.
5 secrets to Elon Musk's success
Manage your time
This may seem obvious, but it's something many of us fail to achieve - good time-management skills. According to Elon, he breaks down his day into 5 minute 'time blocks' to minutely track how he spends his time. If this seems daunting, try planning your day out hour by hour. After a week, you'll see how this has significantly improved your productivity and efficiency. As the billionaire says, "If you get up in the morning and think the future is going to be better, it is a bright day. Otherwise, it's not."
Set those goals high
One of the things that sets Elon apart is his almost fearless ambition. No deadline is too short, no target is too extreme. He's known for chasing incredibly tight deadlines and for pushing his employees to do the same. If you set your sights high, even if you achieve 5 of the 7 tasks you gave yourself, it'll be more than if you'd set no goals at all. Elon famously said, "When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor."
Shower every day
In a question-and-answer Reddit AMA, a popular question was, 'What daily habit do you believe has the largest positive impact on your life?'
Elon replied simply, 'Showering'.
Not necessarily a life hack or magic secret, but it's important enough to make it on the list. And, it's about more than just the lather, rinse, repeat. It's about starting every day on the right note and taking everything, from your personal appearance to your work, seriously. Get up on time, get clean and dressed, and get the job done. A simple trick to being more productive.
Learn as much as you can
Even after his bookworm school and varsity days, Elon never stopped reading and learning. And, according to his brother, Elon grew up reading two books a day. Employees have said that he insists on knowing as much as possible about a new project, whether it's in engineering, science or computer technology. One colleague even wrote about Elon 'grilling' him about specific aspects of a project, but later realised it was just Elon trying to learn from him. Sure, he knows a lot about science and engineering, but he's always keen to know more.
There's always room for improvement
If you're going to be a successful CEO and multi-billionaire, of course it's important to be bold and ambitious. And to believe in yourself. Another famous Elon Musk quote is: 'We're going to make it happen. As God is my bloody witness, I'm hell-bent on making it work.'
But this depicts a combination of confidence and persistence. Work on something until it's perfect, and then work on it a bit more. Elon believes it's important to constantly be thinking about how you could be doing things better. There's room for a bit of humility, even if you're Elon Musk.
And, here's a little more inspiration from a fellow tech-genius...