11 Habits that Made Elon Musk Elon Musk

by @deanyeong | Sign up to weekly newsletter here

I’m an active user on Quora and this is a question I answered not long ago:

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What are the habits of highly successful people?

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I believe that everyone has very different definition of success, but when I was answering the questions, I thought about Elon Musk. Even though our goals aren’t anything close to Elon Musk’s vision, I believe there are some habits and traits we can pick up from him.

Rather using “he” here, I found that many highly successful people are sharing the same traits and habits. Therefore I’m using “they” below to fit the context of the question asked.

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They say what they mean and mean what they say. They are impeccable with their own words. Successful people don’t make you guess what they mean. They tell the truth and make it stupidly simple for other to understand their objective and intention in order to work well together.

They are self-aware. They know who they are, they have defined vision, and they know their strengths and weaknesses. Successful people understand their responsibilities, roles, and identity.

They manage their time by managing their emotions. Everyone can plan for the next day by allocating tasks into their schedule, but successful people go beyond that. They do what they need to do even it makes them uncomfortable. They manage their emotions better than everyone else.

They start before feeling ready. They do procrastinate, but they know how to deal with it. Successful people never wait for the perfect timing to take action because they understand that there is no such thing as the perfect timing. They make decisions and take actions fast.

They eliminate choices and options. Successful people are focused. They never dabble. They create systems to eliminate the need of making choices; they reduce their options before they even need to think about it. Certainly, highly successful people make a lot of decisions, but they make sure those are really important ones.

They show up. They show up even nobody does. Not just showing up in the wins and celebrations, they are showing up during the grind, and in the face of fear and adversity.

They contribute before they ask. This is exactly what made them successful. They find ways to provide value to others (their partners, team, customers) way before they even ask for anything in return.

They time-travel by picking others’ brain. They read to learn ideas that took the author 20 years to figure out, in 20 minutes. They value mentorship to skip through unnecessary mistakes and challenges that are coming in their way. They hire people who are smarter than them to compensate their weaknesses.

They are consistent. Successful people put in the work day in and day out. They understand that results never appear from nowhere on the first day. They have faith in the power of tiny actions, and always aim for the long-term results. They won because they’re playing a long game while everyone else goes short.

They value true relationship. I haven’t found a successful person who messed up the relationship with everyone around them. Successful people know that they won’t achieve what they had today without their mentor, friends, partners and team members.

They think they are lucky. We’re experiencing hundreds of incidents and events in a day, a slight change of any outcome is going to turn your life to a very different path. And successful people believe they are lucky to be successful and feeling grateful for that.


  1. This answer/article is being featured on Inc as 11 Smart Habits of Incredibily Successful People by Quora.
  2. Thank you, the Quora publishing team!

Dean Yeong

Writer. Reader. Lifting weights & drinking coffee.