Musk has spent the last fifty years focusing on his long-term objective: leaving Earth and populating Mars. During that time, he has grown to be the CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, the creator of The Boring Company, and a co-founder of OpenAI and Neuralink.
Musk's journey hasn't always been easy; he's faced lawsuits, government scrutiny, and several close calls with bankruptcy.
But out of all of that, most people almost refuse to talk about something that defines Elon. Something that might be more important in understanding him and all of his successes than the usual tour bus taking us down Elon-memory-lane. Here's how he got to be one of the world's most polarizing personalities.
It is difficult to talk about influential and well-known figures without bringing up Tesla's imaginative Elon Musk. His businesses exhibit an unmatched degree of innovation excellence. He is obviously very clever and a capable leader.
The CEO appears to have earned prominence for another subject in the last year, though. Elon Musk made a huge personal disclosure to the public when hosting Saturday Night Live in May: He has Aspergers Syndrome and is on the autism spectrum.
Evidently, this hasn't stopped him from becoming one of our generation's most important thinkers and thinking leaders. What exactly about this announcement is so exciting, then?
A New Perspective On Elon
Let's be honest: the announcement itself wasn't all that startling. For a very long time, a lot of people held this suspicion. But more than simply Elon the businessman, the news also inspired a curiosity in Elon the person. One of the richest individuals on the planet might at once be viewed through the prism of adversity. How had he handled it? What effect has this had on him? How was his early life?
According to Autism Speaks, a national non-profit organization working to spread information and understanding of autism spectrum disorders, Aspergers is characterized by difficulties interacting socially, restricted interests, challenges with non-verbal communication, and a need for uniformity. Those who have Aspergers may also exhibit extraordinary focus—even an obsession—and outstanding attention to detail.
It is not impossible that someone with Aspergers can achieve an astounding level of competence in a subject or talent. Elon Musk is not an exception to this. In truth, he never was.
Elon Musk’s Childhood
Elon has always been able to come up with new ways to solve problems; yet, he admits that it was difficult for him to do so when he was younger. Elon has recently spoken up about his difficult upbringing.
He started his uphill journey at a young age due to his awful father, and bullying that once landed him in the hospital for two weeks, plus living in South Africa during the turbulent apartheid era.
The 9-year-old Musk and his younger brother Kimbal made the decision to move home with their father following their parents' divorce in 1979. It wasn't until after the relocation that his infamously tumultuous relationship with his father started to come to light. Moving home with his father was "not a smart choice," stated Musk in a Rolling Stone interview.
Elon Musk talked about his "creativity engine," which continually keeps his head buzzing with new ideas, and how he always felt different from other kids growing up on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.
Elon was asked what is it like to try and explain what’s going on to an average person like Joe. A “Never-ending explosion,” said Elon. He said that he realized this when he was around five or six years old. He thought that he was insane.
Joe delved deeper: Why did you believe that you were crazy? Since it was obvious that other people's minds weren't always exploding with ideas, why weren't they expressing them? There wasn't much discussion of it? By the time you are five or six, do you know that they probably won't even understand what you are saying?
“It was just strange. It was like. Hmm hmm, strange. That was my conclusion. Strange,” said Elon.
Elon Defied Expectations
His early years paint a picture of a young man who, by all social norms, may have been destined for mediocrity.
Instead, Ian Robertson, a psychology professor at Trinity College Dublin, feels that the bullying he endured and his Aspergers diagnosis may have been the secret to his success.
In his adolescent years, when he was mature enough to take advantage of business opportunities, the bullying had taught him resilience, a quality that every successful entrepreneur possesses in plenty.
Maybe it started in 1983 when Musk sold a pretty straightforward computer game called "Blastar" to a magazine when he was just 12 years old for $500. It was "a trivial game, but better than Flappy Bird," according to Musk.
His "creativity engine" at last found a place to create with all these business endeavors. The creative genius had finally emerged.
Companies Like No Other
His enterprises adopted qualities and behaviors from his personal life.
Visionary managers, engineers, experts, and other Tesla employees are free to take the lead on initiatives and research thanks to Musk's culture.
Employees at Tesla are expected to work quickly, continuously innovate, and carry out their duties as they see fit. Tesla promotes a decentralized control culture. This makes complete sense for a man who experienced terrible bullying as a child due to his differences from the others.
Take this idea for instance: Turn each house into a decentralized power plant that uses Tesla’s products to produce, store, and even send energy back into the electrical grid. This is what Elon believes in, which is why he is able to assemble people that have the same motivations as him.
A robust integration into the very communities that Tesla sells its products to, instead of a huge distance between end user and producer. Tesla’s end goal is to unite communities, both on Earth and on Mars.
Why not create a company where creativity is prioritized if you grew up not being welcomed because of your mind? Why not establish a culture that constantly questions the status quo if you have experienced severe bullying for not fitting in? Why not found a company dedicated to technical innovation if technology was your refuge?
Tesla is more than a business. It is a living thing that is working to improve the world. a time when technology helps people, rather than just does things. This eases. It gives life and direction. In this manner, Tesla's story merges with Elon's.
Millions of people today benefit from the technology that once made a young guy feel valuable. The breakthrough that once gave a lost youngster a purpose today seeks to advance the frontiers of the invention for everyone on earth. And it will continue to do so for years upon years to come. Tesla’s and Elon’s future is tied together and unpredictable, but now we know that that is just the way he is, and we are better off because of it. Elon is also an icon for people that are on the spectrum, it says that nothing can hold you back and that if you work hard enough, you can accomplish anything.