Elon Musk On Learning New Things: View Knowledge As A Tree

Elon Musk On Learning New Things: View Knowledge As A Tree
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When you’re trying to learn something new, it can be easy to get discouraged. Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and chief product architect of Tesla Motors, suggests you approach knowledge as if it were a tree instead of giving up.

Photo by Maurizio Pesce

In a Reddit AMA chat, Musk was asked how he learns so much in such short periods of time and Musk suggested that people tend to sell themselves short when they try to learn:

I think most people can learn a lot more than they think they can. They sell themselves short without trying.

One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree — make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.

It might sound simple, but we tend to want to dive into the deep end before we learn how to swim. So when you approach a new subject, identify the trunk and branches. Learn those things first and you’ll figure out the leaves and twigs much easier.

I am Elon Musk, CEO/CTO of a rocket company, AMA [Reddit via Business Insider]