How Elon Musk Learns Faster and Better Than Everyone Else

And strategies that you can implement to do the same

By Daniel Oberhaus — Self-photographed,, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Elon Musk is a robotic cyborg who’s way smarter than all of us.

At least, that’s what I used to think. I’ve spent a lot of my time researching and understanding the habits of extremely successful people. The reason? I want to understand their mindset and how they got to where they are right now.

Elon is someone whose name pops up a lot when we talk about success. If you looked up productive in the dictionary, you’d probably see his face. And whether you like him on a personal level or not, it’s certainly hard to disagree that he’s trying to make the world a better place.

“When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.” — Elon Musk

So how does one man develop the ability to launch rockets into space, build tunnels under Los Angeles, and create one of the most recognizable car brands in the world? He uses several learning techniques to expand his knowledge so he can accomplish loads of incredible things.

If you want to be like Elon, and learn more efficiently than everyone else, here’s what you need to do.

Think of Knowledge as a Giant Tree

According to Elon Musk, “It is important to view knowledge as a sort of semantic tree. Make sure you understand the fundamental principles, i.e., the trunk and big branches before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.”

A lot of people believe that learning is incredibly difficult. We often say to ourselves that we’re not capable of doing or achieving something, and give up once it gets tough or boring.

However, learning new things doesn’t have to be complicated. Once you start with the basic principles of anything, it’s much easier to learn about a topic and build your tree of knowledge.

When I first started learning Spanish, I focused on the most common 500 words that frequently appeared in conversations. Then, I began branching out into grammar rules, tenses, and a variety of other things. As a result of implementing this strategy, I’ve managed to make a lot more progress than I ever thought possible.

If you want to learn new concepts more efficiently, think of knowledge as a tree. Start with the basic principles and slowly increase the complexity of each topic. Although it might initially seem like a simple strategy, the effect it’ll have on your ability to learn is profound.

Become Intellectually Curious About the World

In his own words, Elon Musk was raised by books. He loved them. According to CNBC, he read the Encyclopedia Britannica at nine years old and often read science fiction novels for several hours a day. That’s impressive.

So when you look at the incredible accomplishments of Elon Musk, it’s not a surprise that reading during his childhood had a massive influence on his life and mindset. Quoting an interview with Elon that was published by INC Magazine:

“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.”

Almost everything you learn can be applied to something else. For example, I recently read a book about flow state. Learning about this concept in psychology helped me adapt my workspace to work more efficiently and increase my overall level of productivity.

When you improve your mindset in one aspect of life, you’ll quickly find yourself feeling motivated to succeed in everything else. For example:

  • Reading an autobiography of a successful businessman may inspire you to find innovative ways to grow your own company.
  • Reading a book by a famous athlete might help you to focus on your physical health.
  • Reading a book on self-improvement may inspire you to become more confident and step outside your comfort zone.

Read about things that inspire you. Find books that make you think in entirely different ways and motivate you to fulfill your potential.

Learn faster and better than everyone else by reading whenever you get an opportunity and building your knowledge like a tall tree that can be seen from far and wide.

Without knowing you, I can tell you’re destined to achieve great things in every aspect of your life. You can learn new things and fulfill your potential in everything you do.

The best way to start? Implement strategies that increase the probability of making your dreams a reality. Like Elon Musk once said:

“The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability will occur.”

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