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That’s How Elon Musk Learned: How to Apply Life’s Learning Hacks?


Elon Musk is a world-renowned entrepreneur who has been fighting hard for the position of the richest man on the planet for the past several years. His ideas, firms and innovations didn’t come out of nowhere: he had to study and educate himself a lot. But advanced universities are of no use if the student does not know how to assimilate information correctly. How did Ilon Musk learn in school, and how can you use these secrets yourself?

Some history

The entrepreneur was born into a wealthy family of engineers in South Africa. He went to a regular school, but had a lot of self-education and loved to read.It didn’t add popularity among his peers. And at age 10, after buying his first computer, he began to learn programming.

The list of schools where Elon Musk studied after high school does not include Harvard or Oxford. He went to Queens University in Canada, then transferred to the University of Pennsylvania. He earned two degrees from the university, a bachelor’s degree in physics and a bachelor’s degree in economics. In 1995, Elon went to Stanford, but he dropped out almost immediately.

As you can see, Musk’s success has no credit to any famous institute or world-renowned school. However, he sold the first computer game he wrote at the age of 12 for $500. After school, he invested in stocks, and it was with the proceeds from their sales that he went to school. And he left Stanford exactly two days later to start his first software company.

The secrets of learning from Ilon Musk

The billionaire’s biography shows: it is not so important at what university Ilon Musk studied. What matters is what he was able to learn from it and apply it to his career. In one of his interviews, Musk told the main secrets of his studies, which helped him become an expert in many fields.

Knowledge as parts of the tree

The billionaire’s first piece of advice is to present incoming information in the form of a tree made up of many parts. The basic, fundamental knowledge is the roots, the main information about the subject is the trunk. And the branches are the narrow areas and small details that can easily be divided into directions.

By presenting information this way, you will achieve several goals at once:

  • you won’t try to study narrow areas without understanding the basics;
  • be able to clearly separate individual branches of science or areas of knowledge;
  • understand which knowledge is more important to understand the subtleties.

You cannot grow branches and leaves if there is no trunk. It’s the same with knowledge: the fundamental information on which all science is based will help you understand any of the discipline’s related areas.

Start with the fundamentals

No matter how interesting the narrow issues are, always start your study with the basic fundamentals. Secondary issues tend to generate more interest. But, if you tackle them first, there is a risk of not fully understanding the information. Besides, each direction will seem something fundamentally new, because they won’t have the same foundation and roots. It’s much easier to always start with the basics. You may spend more time to get acquainted with the field. But it will reduce your future time and labor costs many times over.

By the way, this applies not only to studies, but also to work (for example, writing a term paper). It makes no sense to think about interesting case studies or select illustrations, while you do not have a text plan prepared. In any field, you should think about the basics first, not peripheral issues. If you don’t have time to do it yourself, cheap writing services can help. They provide qualified assistance in a short time and at an affordable cost. Their authors are well aware of the basics of any field and will help construct a solid foundation for your project. 

Look for connections between facts

The most important tip is to look for connections between all the information you receive. Use the “knowledge as a tree” principle to link narrow areas to fundamental knowledge. But to better absorb information and remember it accurately, it pays to find more connections. 

They don’t have to be direct. Maybe you’ll recall a completely different discipline as you study a new topic. Or draw parallels to a favorite piece of literature. Associative connections are the main rule on which any mnemonic technique is based. So if you want to remember new information, try to connect it to as many facts you already know.

Use knowledge in an unusual context

But it is not enough just to build connections – it is worth learning how to use them in their favor. When you learn how to make connections between different pieces of information, you can easily apply knowledge from different fields at the same time. The knowledge you acquired at school and university can help you to solve life problems or small household tasks in very unexpected ways.

These approaches can be applied to more than just your studies. An unconventional approach to problem solving can help you in your future workplace. The office often lacks a fresh perspective on typical problems. And learning a lot of material for an exam or refresher course will be much easier if you move from the basics to peripheral knowledge. It is this skill that distinguishes people who understand many areas and successfully complete their business.

To conclude

As you can see, there is no difference in what grades Elon Musk studied at school. How he applied his knowledge is what really mattered. Even in the most prestigious high school you can just sit through all the lessons from bell to bell, coming out of there with the wind in his head. Conversely, a regular school can give a lot if you understand the basics of learning science and apply the knowledge gained in life.

What do you think?

Written by Joshua White


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