Discover more from Understandably by Bill Murphy Jr.
Inspired by Elon Musk
You don't have to like someone to be inspired by him. Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
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Honored to meet @Pontifex
by Bill Murphy Jr.
I once thought I would buy a Tesla. I do not think I will do that now.
It's not that I object to Tesla, or even to Elon Musk—well, not enough to change my vehicle buying plans.
Instead, as I explained to a friend who does in fact drive a Tesla (and I apologize if I've used the same line here before, but I can't find that I did), it's that I don't want to risk the bother of a political debate every time I go to the supermarket.
Because Musk is super-controversial. And he is brilliant.
And he's kind of annoying.
But that doesn't mean I can't take inspiration from him where I find it. And right now, I find it in what he posted on Twitter between June 21 and July 1 of this year.
That would be … zilch, nada, zippo.
Not a single tweet. And this, from the #1 Twitter user on the planet. A man whose Twitter bio says that he has posted roughly 18,500 times. A man who loved Twitter so much, he tried to buy the company.
(Or maybe, he'll be forced to. TBD.)
Based on an analysis of about 14,000 of those tweets between 2018 and this year (yes, somebody did this), he's tweeted at least an average of eight to 10 times a day.
This means that Elon Musk tweets about as often as the average human being goes to the bathroom. (Let's all pause here to draw a conclusion from those two statistics.)
Anyway, until last month, Musk hadn't gone more than six days without tweeting in years, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. Bloomberg, Business Insider, and other media described his absence as "mysterious."
Against all that, Musk took more than a week off—and when he reemerged, it was with the following:
A tweet mourning the death of YouTube influencer Technoblade, and
A tweet celebrating Musk's trip, along with four of his children, to meet Pope Francis in Rome.
Anyway, I have no idea what was going on that stopped Musk from tweeting during that time period. 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 from a habit that had overwhelmed him? 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: 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?
Take it where you find it.
7 other things worth knowing today
A lawyer on TikTok is advising viewers to avoid self-checkout, saying that some retailers are targeting them for loss prevention even in cases where nothing has been stolen. Carrie Jernigan, an Arkansas-based criminal defense attorney, shares in her video that large retailers had previously been lenient on accidental shoplifters, but as thieves have gotten better at stealing more expensive items, stores are cracking down. (Daily Dot)
The top seven cities prospective homebuyers are seeking to leave, according to Redfin: San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Seattle, Boston, and Detroit. (CNBC)
The unemployment rate in Minnesota is now 1.8%. That makes it officially the lowest unemployment any state has ever had in history. (Star-Tribune)
These are the 10 best countries for expats, according to a new survey. (#1? Mexico). Related: If Croatia is suddenly becoming the place in Europe everyone wants to visit, perhaps you should check out Albania. (Fortune, Frequent Miler)
Wait, why don't we do this everywhere? A lifeguard drone saved the life of a 14-year-old caught in a powerful tide off a beach in Valencia, Spain, moments before rescue crews arrived.
This is just a cool video. Even if you were a bit young for Joni Mitchell (I was), it's pretty wild to see the 78-year-old singer appear for the first time in decades at the Newport Folk Festival last weekend, during which every other musician on stage seemed in awe.
An Arizona mother lost her hair while undergoing radiation treatment for a brain tumor. So, her son grew out his hair and had it made into a $2,000 wig. (Insider)