3 Lessons to Learn from SpaceX for a Student

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3 Lessons to Learn from SpaceX for a Student

Elon Musk is the founder, CEO, and Chief Engineer at SpaceX; early-stage investor, CEO, and Product Architect of Tesla, Inc.; founder of The Boring Company; and co-founder of Neuralink and OpenAI. Being a centibillionaire, Musk is one of the richest people in the world. He has also made several notable achievements, such as revolutionizing electric and self-driving cars, spearheading the development and deployment of reusable space rockets.
Here are 3 lessons any student can learn from Elon Musk.

SpaceX and Studying

Don’t be afraid of big challenges. Embrace them.

Building rockets and planning to colonize Mars is tough.

There are extremely big challenges to overcome and require leap-bound advancements in technology.

When Elon Musk invited 15 or 20 prominent aerospace engineers to a meeting to start SpaceX, not everyone was enthusiastic or encouraging.

“Musk walks in and announces that he wants to start his own rocket company,” relates Chris Thompson, an aerospace engineer who was advising Musk.

“And I do remember a lot of chuckling, some laughter, people saying things like, ‘Save your money, kid, and go sit on the beach.'”

But Musk wouldn’t give up easily.

“Musk searched among the doubters to find the few believers,” Berger recalls. “Musk wanted people who embraced a challenge rather than shrank from it, optimists rather than pessimists.”

It didn’t take long, and Musk found those optimists.

Fast forward 20 years and SpaceX has achieved many milestones and left others in the dust.

“This is the culmination of a dream. This is a dream come true. It feels surreal. If you’d asked me when starting SpaceX if this would happen, I’d be like ‘1 percent chance, 0.1 percent chance,'” said Musk.

Imagine if no one did the hard things.

Imagine if Musk woke up and decided that everything he is trying was too hard.

There will be no progress and the SpaceX team will not achieve the spectacular gains they have so far.

Imagine if you decide that studying is too difficult and you just want to give up on everything.

Where would you be next year? Or five years later?

How would your future self be doing?

Life is meaningful only when you have challenges to overcome.

If you can ride over the challenges, you will be able to grow yourself and take on even larger challenges.

Those where others fail but you excel.

Otherwise, you would not have made any progress where you could have done so.

Focus on what matters.

Whether it is to learn new subjects or play the game Civilization, Musk always brings an intense degree of focus to the task at hand.

Back in their college days at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Farooq, Musk, and other schoolmates compared the answers after an economics exam to see how they would fare.

To Farooq, it was obvious that Musk knew the content much better than the rest of the clique.

Farooq recounted “this was a group of fairly high achievers, and Elon stood way outside the bell curve”.

Justine Musk, Musk’s former wife also commented that she could always tell when Elon was calling her since the phone would not stop ringing. “The man does not take no for an answer,” she recalled. “You can’t blow him off. I do think of him as the Terminator. He locks his gaze on to something and says, ‘It shall be mine.'”

So set your goals and focus on achieving them.

To overcome challenges, students, like Musk would need to have a relentless focus on what matters most to them.

Whether you are sending people to space safely to their destination, which is the International Space Station, or you are studying for your examinations, it is pertinent to stay focus.

Decide what you would like to achieve by year’s end before you graduate, and in the future.

Work backward and set milestones for you to focus on at every step.

Plan and strategize on how you are going to achieve them.

Take one step at a time.

Gain some ground every day.

To keep your motivation up, ignore the magnitude of your gains.

Focus on improving yourself day by day.

If you can develop a system so that it becomes second nature to you, even better.

Aim for your desired grades.

If you don’t get that focal point right, nothing else will matter.

Practice, practice, practice.

SpaceX is known for building many rockets so that the team can have numerous learning opportunities, especially from failed launches.

Using this approach to the design of both spaceflight software and hardware, there will undoubtedly be many setbacks.

But SpaceX is willing to accommodate failures so that they can learn faster.

With “iterative design”, the company builds spacecraft and launches them as quickly as possible.

This allows them to collect real-world data rather than simulated data from computer modeling.

Adopting this approach strongly contrasts with more traditional aerospace, where NASA, Boeing, and Lockheed tend to spend many years improving on a spacecraft’s design before eventually building one.

Taking this approach is safer, but results in a longer time period.

According to Musk, “building many rockets allows for successive approximation,” To him, progress in any given technology is the number of iterations multiplied by progress between iterations.

For students, the more practices you do and the more learning you achieve between practices, you will end up becoming a better student.

If you are studying content-heavy subjects such as Chemistry, you need to practice regurgitation.

If the curriculum is structured in a way that requires muscle memory work, then it will make sense for you to practice writing down the content on blank pieces of paper.

In this way, you are simulating the actual exam conditions where you are only provided with the question paper and rows of empty lines for you to fill in.

Doing such practices will reveal any misconceptions and gaps that you may have, and that may prove uncomfortable.

The more you do, the more you understand about yourselves.

This provides more opportunities for you to correct them before you commit them to your tests or examinations.

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