Elon Musk’s texts as a treatment for imposter syndrome and reminder to keep shooting your shots

It’s very easy to put people on a pedestal if you’re only reading polished profiles or PR pieces. But the truth is that even the most successful people do not play the game of life like a chess grandmaster always thinking 10 steps ahead.

Unlike chess, real-life games like business always involve randomness and tons of unknown unknowns. So it’s simply impossible and hence futile to try to come up with some kind of masterplan.

And the most successful people understand this. Instead of wasting time mapping out elaborate plans, they focus their energy on execution.

This is what Elon Musk’s texts perfectly illustrate. Elon is currently in litigation with Twitter. As part of the discovery process related to this lawsuit, the court has released hundreds of text messages and emails sent to and from him.

What becomes quite obvious in the texts is that even the most successful people operate most of the time with little strategic thought or analysis. They’re winging it.

Journalists try to make it sound like this is a bad thing. But it’s actually the only way to get ahead in games dominated by randomness and incomplete information. Execute fast, make mistakes, pivot, and always keep moving forward.

There’s lots of other gold in Elon Musk’s texts if you read the raw source and avoid snarky comments by journalists.

For example, people make fun of Jason Calacanis for being “unbelievably thirsty” when he “peppers his friend with flattery and random ideas”.

He sent Elon out-of-the-blue messages like: “Just had the best idea ever for monetization” and then went on to outline a new way of how Twitter could monetize the platform beyond ads. He wrote messages like “Put me in the game coach! Twitter CEO is my dream job.”

And yes, you of course might look stupid if you shoot your shot and send random ideas to friends and strangers.

But when the downside is that a few journalists make fun of you and the upside is you becoming the CEO of Twitter, well, it’s not that bad of a trade, isn’t it?

Written on October 6, 2022

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