Are Elon Musk's Emotions the Secret to his Success?

in elonmusk •  2 months ago


In his recent interview with Joe Rogan, Elon Musk once again was briefly overtook by emotions when he discussed the threat of global climate change. Now, I think it's important to acknowledge the clear distinction between "getting emotional" and "losing one's shit." Click-based media is obviously going to sensationalize such "unusual" behavior. But of course, click-based media is not the same as "accurate information sharing." Or, "insightful analysis giving."

Breaking News, He's Odd

But Elon Musk is obviously unusual. That isn't even a morally valenced claim. I doubt anyone would disagree with that claim. First, it is unusual to create a company worth 1 million dollars. Creating a billion dollar company, is obviously far rarer; it almost never happens. Creating two is close to impossible, but apparently not impossible. Many people wonder what is different about him that enables him to do the things he does‒Rogan does this in the interview‒usually they conclude something equivalent to; he's super smart. But he's probably not the smartest person in the world, and just because someone is highly intelligent doesn't mean they know how to run a business.

Eating Glass, Fun!

Obviously I have no more answers than anyone else. That being said, what I have learned from my experience operating within the economy is that creating and sustaining an enterprise of almost any size is hard as hell. This is especially the case the more innovative your company is. People think incorporating innovative technology makes success easy. The opposite is the case. Innovative technology, when incorporated properly, can provide you with a competitive advantage against large incumbents due to the Innovator's Dilemma but there is still no such thing as a free lunch. You are still operating at a huge disadvantage. You lack the resources of incumbents. You lack the tooling and infrastructure that exists to support large incumbent enterprises. You have some advantages, but winning isn't easier, it's harder. As Musk has said himself, "Starting a company is like eating glass and staring into the abyss." So maybe the real question should be, "Who voluntarily eats glass and stares into the abyss?" Who does that multiple times? And what does it take to excel in that environment?

Maybe Feelings Are Good

As I said at the beginning, there is a big difference between getting emotional, and losing one's shit. Losing control is bad. But Musk clearly has strong feelings and these feelings seem to most to be highly unusual. What if we accept that premise? What if he does feel more strongly about these massive, highly abstract, existential threats than the rest of us? It's easy to feel bad for a real person undergoing unspeakable hardship, but how can you feel about the theoretical hardship that could be delivered upon countless people in the future, people who might not even exist yet, even when the total amount of likely suffering is so much more. We know it's not easy to feel that, and yet Musk certainly appears to. Maybe this is exactly the thing that is necessary to motivate someone to repeatedly‒and for prolonged periods of time‒eat glass and stare into the abyss of some seemingly impossible-to-solve problem.

I haven't watched the entire interview, but if you'd like to check it out here:

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Emotions are the power to sustain life itself, there is nothing wrong with emotion. One of the reasons why AI is a threat is the lack of emotion within computer systems. One of the main topics I write about is the necessity of emotional awareness and expression in healing, balancing and evolving the Earth and ourselves.

Elon has some sort of magic sauce which compels people to believe in his ideas. Every time I hear him talk I'm really amazed at how deeply he has thought about solving different problems. He knows a lot about a lot of different things. I thought it was interesting what he said about how fossil fuels are subsidized but that subsidy hadn't fully been paid for yet. Essentially saying that future generations will pay for it.

I also thought it was interesting what he was saying about tunneling under the cities and that you could potentially go 10,000 feet deep. I was kind of blown away by that. I knew a guy that worked in an underground mine and it was over 5,000 feet deep and he said it was real hot down there.

Elon is a really interesting guy and I think whatever he comes up with people will be talking about his contributions for centuries.

I might even get as much emotional when looking at the blatant disgrace of politics happening in germany - just saying 3 characters: AFD. (who are denying climate-change as well, btw)

But whatever - I guess the trick is to build a billion-dollar company and having enough power to take things into your own hand.

Thank you for sharing the interview, @andrarchy - watching it now.

PS: You made a small typo:

First, it is unusual to create a company worth 1 mbillion dollars.


Politics in Germany dates back a long time. 2 big world war last 100 years complicates stuff a little in central Europe.


Thanks for reading!

Nope, not a typo. Very few people create companies worth 1 million dollars. The point is to highlight just how difficult it is to build a company worth a billion.


It's tough to count all of his accomplishments in that realm. From Zip2 selling for 300 million (that he started in his 20s) then being his first billion evaluation to now Tesla/SpaceX. Shoot even Business Insider has given a possible multi-billion evaluation to The Boring Company. The guy is crazy! I look forward to the mission behind his 5th billion dollar company.


I clarified it, thanks for pointing out the possible confusion ;)


Try living in America right now. It is like a bad episode of the 90s sci fi series, Sliders. You know, the kind of episode that you watch and go, 'That is just silly. That guy would not get elected in any universe.'

Its funny as I wanted to do a blog post on this interview too. I mostly wanted to talk about how a person's body language tells a lot. The two things I got out of this interview were, Elon seems like a really cool dude and second, he knows something most people don't and its messing with his mindset I think. Great interview for sure, very telling if you can read between the lines.


Or his mind was already messed with from the beginning ;)

To the question in your title, my Magic 8-Ball says:

As I see it, yes

Hi! I'm a bot, and this answer was posted automatically. Check this post out for more information.


Very nic

Drinking whiskey and smoking a joint, he missed hitting the trifecta when he neglected to bring one of his flamethrowers to the interview.


I think he did bring one but I might be mistaken. I know that Joe made multiple references towards it being in the studio but I also thought he said thank you to Elon for bringing it in. Shame we didn't see him light it up with the Not a Flamethrower.



To listen to the audio version of this article click on the play image.

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That is going on my Watch List to vote with the wife!! :-)

Great write up on this, man, and a totally unique perspective with which I tend to agree!

I think the imaginative/visualization powers often come with an “amplified empathy” too, in these types of individuals, for “big picture” and even future issues.

And eating glass. Hell yes. To do something new and try to make it work is an adventure into the world of stomachaches, eating glass, and the abyss staring back into you.

And yet, it’s done, and changes the world.

Interesante artículo sobre un interesante personaje 🤔

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A trillion dollar company is even harder... ask Bezos

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At this point though it seems he has stretched himself too thin and maybe he needs a well deserved break.

Musk is a fascinating guy. I like his views on the idea that we all may be living in some sort of computer simulation.

I think his passion is what drives everything on him. He is extremely passionate on what he does! So if you add that up with the fact he is very smart and hard-working you might get the results he get once in a while.

Still I think he is very exceptional!

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I don't think passion and feelings are unrelated. Thanks for reading!