Friends, readers, fellow humans. I come to learn from Elon Musk, not to praise him.
Yet, if I’m reading this correctly, Musk just made a smart, healthy lifestyle change that’s worthy of praise and imitation, even if it might only have been temporary.
Background: You may have read that Musk took a 9-day break recently from Twitter.
This was a big change for him. According to the tally at the top of his Twitter bio, Musk has tweeted roughly 18,500 times.
And, based on an analysis of about 14,000 of those tweets between 2018 and this year, he’s tweeted at least an average of between 8 and 10 times a day, nearly every day going back almost five years.
Until last month, he hadn’t gone more than six days without a tweet during that same time period, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.
Heck — and this sounds like it should be a joke, but of course we all know it’s not — Musk likes tweeting so much that he’s literally trying to buy the company.
So against all that, Musk takes more than a week off — and when he reemerges, it’s with the following:
- A tweet mourning the death of YouTube influencer Technoblade, and
- A tweet celebrating Musk’s trip, along with four of his eight children, to meet Pope Francis in Rome.
I don’t know what Musk was doing during those nine tweet-less days. Bloomberg, Business Insider and other media described his absence as “mysterious.” Maybe it had something to do with his plan to buy Twitter.
But, to me it’s like a reader reading a poem, or a visitor looking at a painting. What the artist intended matters, but whatever you take away from the experience matters more.
Here’s what I take away. We are what we repeatedly do, as more than a few people have famously said. Yet, there are eras in which our lives are overpowered by our habits — and by a compulsion to do things that aren’t necessarily the things we want to define us.
Sometimes we need a break. Sometimes it’s really hard to pull off.
Is that what Musk was doing? Taking an intentional break? Maybe even deciding to spend a dedicated stretch of time with (some of) his kids?
It would be an important decision, and inspiring to think so, even if we can’t know for sure.
And it leaves me asking a question: What’s the thing in your life that distracts you from your most important relationships?
Social media? Obsession with work? Vices? Something else?
How would cutting them off temporarily — cold Turkey, for a week or 10 days — allow you to repair and nurture the things you really want to define you?
Look, people either love Musk or hate him at this point. There’s very little middle ground.
But as I write in my free ebook, Elon Musk Has Very Big Plans, you don’t have to feel one way or another to learn from him.
Maybe this is just one of those learnable moments. And an opportunity, as we start the summer, to unplug just long enough for it to really matter.