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Is Elon Musk Driving in “Improbability Mode?”

Want to learn about Musk’s biggest talent? Here it is…

The mannequin known as "Starman", seated in the Roadster

SpaceX, CC-1.0


Elon Musk, a father of six, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, and the founder and co-founder of quite a few other companies, as well as the founder of a private school, possesses many talents, but perhaps his most intriguing talent is one that has yet to be discussed. It’s an elusive talent that can be described best by borrowing a term from none other than Musk’s favorite book[1], “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy“, written by Douglas Adams. The book describes a climactic point in which the book’s hero is thrown out of a spacecraft, stranding him in deep space. The book’s hero keeps calm and counts out his last 30 seconds in space’s vacuum while swiftly calculating the likelihood that a random spacecraft will pass by and save him from the universe’s most remote coordinates. The mathematically intriguing calculation generously provided by the author results in salvation chances that are as close to zero as anything is. 

Nonetheless, our hero finds himself on a spacecraft that happens to pass by just in the nick of time to pick him up. The reason for this unlikely event is brilliantly offered by the author – the spacecraft that seemingly had no chance whatsoever of passing through at that exact point and time was set by its captain to drive in a unique driving mode – “Improbability Mode.” It appears to be that while driving in “Improbability mode,” improbable things are much more likely to happen.  

Now, though you were not privy to the calculations generously offered by the author and might not possess the required academic knowledge in math, physics, or statistics needed to conduct an estimation of such highly unlikely events, try to calculate the probability of the following:

A young kid from a “broken” family in Africa gets his hands on a copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide, falls in love with its seemingly far-fetched stories, and moves ahead to actually establishing a company aiming to allow space travels. Then, this “kid” establishes another company aiming to buy us some extra time before global warming eats us all alive so we can have time enough to build the right spaceship to make us all a multi-planetary species. Then, while working on those ambitious endeavors, this “kid” is so busy he has to spend nights sleeping on the manufacturing floor[2] just to have some extra time to help and solve some of these project challenges. And while doing that, this “kid” somehow succeeds in finding some extra time just so he can build the imaginary “Don’t panic!” plate described in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide”, connect it to his private car’s dashboard, place the car on a spaceship and place this unlikely installation on a giant rocket and send it all to cruise in space as it plays the book’s famous soundtrack.  Now, consider this unlikely chain of events for a second and ask – does Elon Musk drive in “Improbability mode?”Take a precious minute to ponder that possibility and then ask yourself another question that is no less important. If Elon Musk does drive in “Improbability mode”, how come so many people still find so many of his declarations to be improbable? In which mode do people holding such a stance drive themselves? And perhaps far more important than all of those questions: in which mode are you driving?

[1] Elon Musk’s biography written by Ashlee Vance

[2] CNBC: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/11/elon-musk-says-he-is-sleeping-on-tesla-factory-floor-to-save-time.html

Disclaimer: As this is an inspirational article, the ranking addresses the potential of this story to positively impact our thoughts, feelings, and actions through a change in perspective and inspiration.

Full disclosure:  

The writer holds shares of Tesla.

This article is an example of a winning article. The competition is about to start…. click Publish to register or “How to win” to learn more.

Click to order: Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future 

Click to order: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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