How did Elon Musk learn so much?

“How did Elon Musk learn so much?”  This was a question posed on Quora and answered well I thought by “Jo-Erlend Schinstad” where his answer was. “He explained it once. He said you can learn a lot by reading books and talking to people. He’s also said he thinks you can learn faster by reading books since talking is an inefficient means of communication.

Reading _books_ is an important part of this. Reading posts like these are not comparable. Because whereas I might spend a little more time writing it than you spend reading it, an author of a book spends a great deal of time figuring out how to get the message across.

I guess he’s intelligent too, but there’s no substitution for dedication and time. Professors say they spend about the same amount of time teaching Newton to new students as Newton spent creating the knowledge, to begin with. But he most likely worked five times harder than they do. We admire Newton for his accomplishments, but if you look a little closer, you’ll see that in reality, he sacrificed his life for the creation of knowledge. When people die for our causes, we tend to honor their sacrifice, although dying is really simple. But when people live for a cause, we tend to brush it off as intelligence, as if it just came to them as luck.

They say it takes ten thousand hours to become proficient at something. Albert Einstein probably spent a quarter of a million hours studying reality. Society teaches us to focus on his superior intelligence, although that probably isn’t real. We ignore the enormous amount of pure work.

I’m not trying to compare Elon Musk to Newton or Einstein, because I think that way of thinking is stupid in general. What I am trying to say, is that people like him work a great deal more than the majority of us would even want to consider. And there are many people like that in the world, although few of them get famous. We just can’t escape the fact that they do the work, read the books and talk to people who have already read the books.

Idiot 1: ‘You think you’re so smart, but you’re really stupid.’
Idiot 2: ‘I know I’m stupid, that’s why I’m trying to be as smart as I possibly can.’

When we stop punishing the second idiot, we will make rapid progress.”

Now as much as I cringed at the overuse of the word “idiot” in the article, the point is well made.  Nobody is born knowledgeable or an expert in whatever it is they do and/or are passionate about.  It takes time, self-education, and hard work mastering one’s craft.  Try to stay focused, find a good book or five on the subject you are interested in.  Become the master of your passions and you will be valuable to anyone looking for that particular talent that you have invested your time and efforts into.  When it comes to your education and skills, be thirsty in your efforts to get really good at it, what ever it is!