Journal Entry 

 How to Think Like Elon Musk 

Picture of Michael Santos

Michael Santos

What Do You Have in Common with Elon Musk?

More than you think. In some ways, you may be very much alike. In other ways, you may be very different.

When I was in prison, I used to read about leaders like Elon Musk. I’d challenge myself by reflecting on questions like the one I asked above. 

I read stories about people who changed the world. They saw a problem or something they didn’t like and then figured out a pathway to a solution, or created something they believed would add value to the lives of others.

In that way, I wanted to be like the leaders who inspired me. I didn’t want the prison experience to define me. If I lived like a leader, such as Elon Musk, I wouldn’t make excuses or complain. Instead, I’d use the same strategies he used to change the world. After reading a biography on Elon Musk, I gathered some steps he used to build his companies:

1. Create a Vision: 

Musk envisioned creating an affordable electric car that would make gasoline-powered cars obsolete. He believed electric cars were the future of transportation and that Tesla could play a leading role in that future.

2. Focus on Innovation: 

Musk prioritized innovation and technology, constantly pushing the boundaries of what was possible with electric cars. This included developing new battery technologies, improving charging infrastructure, and designing sleek, high-performance electric cars.

3. Build a Strong Brand: 

Tesla’s distinctive design and focus on sustainability helped build a strong and recognizable brand. Musk also leveraged social media to build a loyal following and promote Tesla’s brand.

4. Expand Strategically: 

Musk focused on expanding Tesla’s market share gradually, starting with luxury electric cars and then expanding into more mainstream models. He also expanded into new geographic markets and developed a network of Supercharger stations for fast charging.

5. Emphasize Sustainability: 

Tesla’s focus on sustainability and reducing carbon emissions has been a key part of its brand and marketing strategy. Musk emphasized the importance of using renewable energy sources to power electric cars.

6. Build a Strong Company Culture: 

Musk emphasized building a strong and entrepreneurial company culture at Tesla, prioritizing innovation, collaboration, and risk-taking.

7. Diversify and Expand Beyond Cars: 

Tesla has diversified its offerings beyond cars, including solar panels, energy storage, and other sustainable energy products. Musk has also pursued other ventures, such as SpaceX, which share his focus on innovation and sustainability.

From leaders like Musk, I learned that to change anything, a person needs to have a clear vision, focus on innovation and sustainability, build a strong brand, and think strategically to expand the idea, getting others to adopt it. Then, a person has to make a 100% commitment to success.

This approach isn’t any different for a person in prison.

A judge sentenced me to 45 years. If I wanted to be like many of the people alongside me in the penitentiary, I could have spent all my time complaining about unfairness. If I wanted to be like leaders, I would need to take strategic steps.

In the course I created, Preparing for Success After Prison, I describe the strategic steps that worked for me. There are ten parts:

  1. Define Success: Know what success looks like for you.
  2. . Create Clear Goals: Set specific, measurable goals.
  3. Commit 100%: Dedicate yourself fully to achieving your goals.
  4. Visualize Success: Picture the success you will achieve if you stick to your plan.
  5. Take Incremental Steps: Build progress every day with small actions.
  6. Measure Progress: Create accountability tools to stay on track.
  7. Stay Aware of Opportunities: Be open to new possibilities and let others know about your efforts.
  8. Be Authentic: Create tools and resources to help you execute daily tasks.
  9. Celebrate Small Achievements: Acknowledge and enjoy the small wins along the way.
  10. Live in Gratitude: Be thankful for the blessings that come your way.

I didn’t come up with these steps on my own. I learned them by paying attention to leaders who were far more successful than I ever imagined becoming.

It’s my hope that you’re paying attention and working every day to develop yourself further so that prison won’t define you. 

Going forward, people will judge you by the way you responded to prison. For that reason, I encourage you to prepare for success. You’ll add value to the lives of others, and to your future.

Today’s Question:

  • What are the characteristics of a leader who is inspiring your adjustment?

Steps to Build Your Profile:

1. Send an invite to [email protected]

2. Once accepted, send an email to the interns with the following information:

   – Your name

   – Your number

   – Your location

   – Your sentence length

3. Respond to any questions presented in the newsletter by sending your answers to the email above.

By taking these steps, you can memorialize your journey and demonstrate your commitment to a better future.

Keep striving for greatness. Your efforts today will pave the way for your success tomorrow.

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